Lloris puzzled by Tottenham's alarming slump since European heartbreak

‘It’s difficult to explain… sometimes everything goes against you’: Hugo Lloris is baffled by Tottenham’s alarming slump since Champions League heartbreak but is planning to finish the season on a high by cracking the top four

  • Tottenham have endured a torrid season since losing Champions League final
  • Mauricio Pochettino was sacked and they have exited every cup competition
  • Spurs sit eighth in the Premier League, seven points adrift of Chelsea in fourth
  • They have nine games left to salvage season, starting at home to Man United
  • Captain Hugo Lloris has tried to rationalise Tottenham’s alarming slump in form 

Hugo Lloris knows it has hardly been a year for Tottenham to savour since the Champions League final.

‘Wow, it’s difficult to explain,’ sighs the Spurs captain as he tries to rationalise the slump in form which led to the sacking of popular boss Mauricio Pochettino and struggles since under Jose Mourinho.

‘Last season, we went on an incredible run in the Champions League and we finished the season on our knees and you don’t have time to recover from one season before you have to start a new one.

Hugo Lloris and Tottenham restart their Premier League season against Man United on June 19

Tottenham are now trying to salvage their season after early exits in cup competitions 

‘And then there was the accumulation of things that provoked the situation, and then of course a lot of injured players. The change of manager. It’s difficult to stay stable and to be always looking at the top.

‘There is sometimes one season when everything goes against you.’

Goalkeeper Lloris missed more than three months with a dislocated elbow and key strikers Harry Kane and Son Heung-min were lost in a cluster of long-term injuries.

Tottenham were dumped out of the FA Cup and the Champions League inside seven days before the season was suspended in March but, 95 days since their last outing, a sobering defeat in Leipzig, and everyone is fit and refreshed.

Pochettino, free from the constraints of gardening leave, has offered blessing to Mourinho as his successor.

And, suddenly, in these unprecedented times, minds are clear and Spurs have nine matches in which to perform a salvage operation and rescue a terrible season.

Mauricio Pochettino was sacked amid a horrid run of form after losing Champions League final 

Lloris admits it has been ‘difficult to explain’ Tottenham’s alarming form over the year 

‘It’s like a new season that is going to start,’ says Lloris. ‘It’s true to say we were not at our best. But it belongs to the past. The team will look different than a few months ago. We are more or less all fit, this is a big difference.’

All eyes will be on Kane, who has not appeared since New Year’s Day at Southampton when he damaged a hamstring muscle and required surgery.

‘He is ready,’ says Lloris. ‘In his mind he is ready and that’s the most important thing. He recovered very well from his bad injury and he is the one really looking forward to getting back into the competition.

‘Everyone knows his targets, his ambition and his willingness to win. We all need the repetition of games to reach our best level but that is going to be the case even for the opponents we are going to play.

‘Harry is in a good place and just waiting to start the season again, like all of us.’

Tottenham have ground to make up. They are seven points adrift of Chelsea in fourth place and five behind Manchester United, their opponents behind closed doors at White Hart Lane on Friday and they cannot contemplate defeat.

Harry Kane and Son Heung-min are fit again and raring to go when the league season resumes

‘We don’t have the right to lose games,’ says Lloris. ‘Even more when you face a direct opponent like Manchester United. We are going to start again with a very important game, maybe a decisive game for the future, even if there are another eight games.

‘The title is almost done, but for fourth place – or fifth place – there will be a big battle, and for the relegation it will be an even bigger battle. There is a lot to win and to lose in these nine games.

‘It is the final sprint, you can win or lose everything.

‘We want to be involved in the biggest competition and it’s the Champions League. This is the minimum we want to play for. If we don’t get it, it will be a disappointment but we will have to react straight away for the next season.’

Jose Mourinho will be hoping for a late surge from his Spurs side in the race for a top four spot

Spurs are among those with eyes on the outcome of Manchester City’s hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

City are appealing against a two-year ban from UEFA competition for a breach of Financial Fair Play regulations with a decision expected next month. If they fail, finishing fifth in the Premier League will be enough to qualify for a place in the Champions League.

‘We just want to finish as high as we can,’ adds Lloris. ‘To finish the season strong will help us prepare the next one. There is a lot to do, a lot to work on to improve under our new manager.

‘We have to make sure it is only one [bad] season and make sure next season we will be ready again to compete with the top teams.’

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