Hugo Lloris: Spurs can't get any worse
Hugo Lloris has delivered a withering assessment of Tottenham's campaign, admitting they would be hard pushed to get any worse next season.
Despite the departure of key man Gareth Bale, there was an air of excitement around White Hart Lane in the summer following a flurry of big-name signings.
Fast forward to now, though, and Andre Villas-Boas' successor Tim Sherwood is already under-fire, Champions League qualification has again evaded them and fans' dissatisfaction is growing.
Lloris shares that frustration, accepting "fourth place is finished" and that Spurs can only now push for a place in the Europa League, which will no doubt lead to heightened speculation about the future of players like the France goalkeeper.
"I think all the players in the squad have the ambition to play in the Champions League," Lloris said in response to such talk. "It is the ambition of the club as well.
"The fans expect this competition but we are in the Premier League and it is not easy to get a ticket.
"This season we had a good start, but after the defeat against City away we lost a bit of confidence.
"After that we were in trouble, especially in the concentration. We conceded a lot of goals after individual mistakes and you know when you play against top teams it is too difficult to come back in the game.
"When you play a team at the bottom of the league or the second half of the table, you have a chance to come back as we did against West Brom, as we did again against Fulham.
"But we have to improve, we know this season that the top-four, top-five teams were better than us so we have to keep working and hope to be better next season."
Asked if Spurs can kick on next term, Lloris responded: "I hope so. It will be difficult to do worse, especially against the top four or five teams.
"I mean, we conceded a lot of bad defeats. This season we had sometimes the feeling that we gave up. We can't allow this kind of behaviour. We have to show more character.
"We did it in different games but we have to keep our mentality at the best level because in this league you have to be 100 per cent every time you play."
Lloris' comments about his team-mates' lack of character is quite the admission, but understandable given embarrassing defeats to the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea.
"I'm a competitor and I try always to do my best for the team," he said. "I want to see my team-mates do the same.
"But football is not easy. It is a collective sport and we have to go all together in the same way.
"It's strange because we have a feeling that we can play at a very high level.
"But we can also play at a very bad level during the same game. It has put us in trouble a lot of times this season."
Even in victory Lloris has not been overjoyed by some of Tottenham's performances, such as Saturday's 3-1 defeat of embattled Fulham.
Christian Eriksen was officially named man-of-the-match but the goalkeeper's fine display meant he also left White Hart Lane with a bottle of champagne.
"It is always a pleasure to receive that kind of thing but if the goalkeeper is man of the match then it means the team didn't do the job properly," Lloris said.
"We conceded too many chances, but we were strong and we did the job. I think we made a good performance offensively.
"We had good possession of the ball and I think the best team won. Fulham has some chances to stay still and I wish them the best."