Monday 10 December 2018

'Focused' Lloris positive despite Messi mauling

Hugo Lloris is powerless to prevent Lionel Messi scoring his second goal of the night in Barcelona’s victory over Tottenham. Photo: Getty Images
Hugo Lloris is powerless to prevent Lionel Messi scoring his second goal of the night in Barcelona’s victory over Tottenham. Photo: Getty Images

Miguel Delaney

Tottenham Hotspur's Hugo Lloris says he just tried to stay "focused" on football, amid a difficult time that saw him convicted of drink-driving.

The goalkeeper made his first appearance in over a month in Wednesday's 4-2 Champions League defeat to Barcelona, with manager Mauricio Pochettino having said that the "stress" from the incident might have contributed to the thigh strain he picked up in the 3-0 win away to Manchester United.

The Spurs boss did allude to Lloris being at fault for Barca's first goal in the match but the goalkeeper said the key now is to build a run of games and get back on track.

"A few things have happened in my private life but the most important thing is to stay focused on your job," Lloris said.

"I was unfortunately injured and I tried my best to be back as soon as possible and as strong as possible. It's not easy to be back in this type of game without a game before but the most important thing for me is to be back and then build confidence.

"It's a good feeling to be back with the team again. Obviously I expected a better game but it's Barcelona in front of us and we can feel they are one step over us but we can be proud of the performance because we did our best, especially in the second half.

"We increased our level and we were close to being back to 3-3 and finally we lost 4-2 but the most important is the mentality that we put, especially in the second half.

"We played our football but then in front of us, yeah, it's one of the best teams in the world. With (Leo) Messi at this level, it's very complicated."

Lloris, meanwhile, said that Messi on that kind of level makes it easy for Barca. The star scored twice and had a hand in both other goals in a brilliant individual display.

"There is only one Messi, no? He is one of the best, maybe the best in the world, in football history. When you play at this level and physically he is at his best, he is difficult to stop. And when you leave him some space, he is difficult to defend."

Positive Lloris remained positive about getting through the group, despite Tottenham having lost both of their opening two games to leave them six points behind Barca and Inter.

"We need to be honest. Inter won so it's put us in a bad situation. We need to stay calm. Be focused in the Premier League and we need two great performances against PSV to be back in the race for qualification and then we will see.

"Barcelona is the favourite and then we have to compete against Milan and PSV."

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