Tottenham Hotspur captain Hugo Lloris full of praise for ‘winner’ Fernando Llorente
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Spurs goalkeeper discusses what Spanish forward will bring to the team and hails Davinson Sancheaz after his debut
Hugo Lloris says Fernando Llorente has fitted seamlessly into Tottenham’s squad, and he feels the Spanish forward’s experience will be hugely beneficial as Spurs’ young squad start their Champions League quest.
Llorente did not feature in Saturday’s 3-0 win at Everton, but the 32-year-old could make his bow tonight when Mauricio Pochettino’s side take on Borussia Dortmund at Wembley in their opening European group match.
Lloris said: “Fernando is a great man. From the beginning, it’s like he’s been here for a while. He’s very respectful and you can feel he’s here to be involved, to be a part of the team, to help the team reach something - because there’s a real project at Tottenham and if he signs for us it’s because he believes in it, like Serge Aurier, like [Davinson] Sanchez, like the others.
“He came from nowhere and Fernando Llorente is an experienced player – he’s going to bring a lot to a young team. He’s a World Cup winner, a European Championship winner, he’s got a lot of experience for Juventus and he had a great season with Swansea. He helped save the team in the Premier League.
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“Fernando and the other new players are going to bring a new edge to the squad, and this is what we needed. It’s like a second brief wind into the team.”
Lloris went on: “It’s never easy in July and August when you start competing and the market’s still open. There are a lot of rumours and it can affect the team, some players, because they’re involved in the market - they can leave, they can stay.
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“Now everything is perfect. We’re just focused on our game and we’re thinking now about the Champions League.
“In the Champions League we’ve got a lot of expectations, especially after last season. We failed all together and we’re going to try to improve, to reach a level all together and try to compete.
“We have a tough group but it’s really exciting for everyone to face Dortmund and Real Madrid. They belong to the best in Europe - Madrid is the best team over the last two years.
“It’s fantastic and we’re going to try our best, as usual, but it’s important to start well at Wembley against Dortmund.”
That is easier said than done, given Spurs’ poor record at the national stadium. The club have won only one of their last 11 matches at Wembley, most recently losing to Chelsea and conceding a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Burnley before the international break.
Talk of a Wembley curse refuses to go away, but Lloris said: “We were very unlucky in August, it’s important to mention that. Now we just need to look forward, to move on with the right mentality - excitement to play again in the Champions League.
“In front of our fans, we need to start well, to put in the right energy and not to think about that kind of stupid thing. We’re professional and will try our best as usual and try to turn the luck a little bit to our side at Wembley.”
Tottenham will be missing the suspended Dele Alli and injured Victor Wanyama this evening, as well as long-term absentees such as Danny Rose and Erik Lamela.
But Rose’s absence is barely being mentioned at present due to Ben Davies’ excellent start to the season - having scored on the opening weekend of the season at Newcastle, the Welsh left-back set up two goals at Everton on Saturday.
“It’s normal that you talk more about offensive players - they create chances, they score - and when you start to talk about defensive players it’s not a good thing!” said Lloris.
“But sometimes you talk well about them because they do well, like I hope [you will] about Davinson Sanchez after his first game, which was very good, excellent.
“I mean that in some positions they are more exposed than others, and that’s why maybe Ben Davies, you don’t really talk about him.
“He’s the kind of guy who is very quiet but he does his job. He’s used to doing that. He’s very consistent, he knows well the way we play and he understands perfectly well what the gaffers expects.
“It’s not only about one, two or three players, it’s about the team. Everyone is involved and everyone is ready to help the team, and that was the case again at the weekend.”
Lloris added further praise for Sanchez, who impressed on his full debut at Everton and, after reaching the Europa League final with Ajax last season, could now keep his place and start against Dortmund in the Champions League.
“Saturday was the first experience of the new back three,” said the skipper. “We could see his behaviour on the field was fantastic.
“He’s very aggressive, he’s quick, he reads the game well and obviously he’ll help the team to reach what we want. He’s a perfect profile for the team - easy to play with and understands perfectly the game.
“The most difficult thing is to stay consistent - for him, for everyone in the team. We will do everything to help each other and be as consistent as possible.”
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