Tottenham Hotspur captain Hugo Lloris takes positives from FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea
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French stopper says Spurs can take heart from sticking to their guns against the Blues
Captain Hugo Lloris says Tottenham can take heart from their performance at Wembley and the fact they maintained their “identity” when they were trailing against Chelsea.
Spurs came from behind twice in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final to level the tie at 2-2, while dominating large periods of the tie.
The Lilywhites had 63 per cent of the possession and 13 shots compared to Chelsea’s eight, while forcing 11 corners.
By contrast the Blues only managed one corner of their own - but they scored from it to regain their lead at 3-2, and four of their five efforts on target found the net as they ultimately ran out 4-2 winners.
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“We played in the way we wanted to play, that’s the most important thing,” said Lloris. “That’s why we have to keep our chins up, because we made a good performance, and then it’s about details.
“It’s my fifth season for Tottenham and I can see the team is enjoying fighting and competing against the best teams. It was the case again this time. We all took responsibility together.
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“The most important thing is you can win and lose in football [but you must do it] with your identity, and it was the case here, so that makes me proud.
“Especially in a great moment in football like a semi-final of the FA Cup, you can lose your focus, lose your ability, and maybe you cannot play in the way that you used to play - but it was not the case.
“Again, it’s a good experience for us and we will try our best until the end of the season in the league and try to push, try to put pressure on Chelsea. We know they have an advantage but we need to believe until the end and at least we need to secure second place.”
Chelsea went ahead in the fifth minute as Willian beat Lloris with a free kick and, although Harry Kane levelled, Victor Moses won a penalty from Heung-Min Son – despite seeming to hurdle the South Korean’s outstretched leg – to give Willian the chance to make it 2-1 from the spot.
Again, Tottenham responded as Dele Alli made it 2-2. But the introduction of Eden Hazard swung the game in the Blues’ favour and the Belgian scored his side’s third goal in the 75th minute before teeing up Nemanja Matic, who found the top corner with an unstoppable strike.
“We ran too much after the score and lost maybe a lot of energy in that,” said Lloris. “The game didn’t want to turn in our way because we could have deserved more - in terms of performance it was very good. Then Chelsea were very clinical.
“I’m still thinking that we could have avoided the first two goals conceded – the free kick obviously, and the penalty. I’m not sure it was a penalty.
“It was a crucial moment because it was just before half time and in your mind, especially in Chelsea’s minds, they got an advantage. But we came back again and then at 2-2 everything was possible, but the game didn’t want to turn in our way.
“Chelsea are used to winning trophies, it’s a winning team, and maybe they have more experience than us. But we try to make a good balance in the way we play.
“In football there is always a part of luck, and I’m still thinking that after that game because we tried our best, but unfortunately they were more clinical than us.”
It remains to be seen whether Saturday’s result and the differing moods in each camp will now affect the title race as Tottenham bid to close the four-point gap behind league leaders Chelsea.
“We knew beforehand that this game can maybe have an impact for the rest of the season, but in football you need to believe because everything is possible and we don’t know what will happen in the next few weeks,” said Lloris.
“They are human and it’s the case for us [too]. The only thing we can do is keep working hard, keep believing and play in the same way that we’ve played in the last few weeks.”