Hugo Lloris more pessimistic about Tottenham Hotspur’s title chances after slipping 11 points off Premier League leaders Manchester City
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Spurs captain disappointed with defeat to north London rivals Arsenal, but keen not to blame referee Mike Dean for the loss at the Emirates
When Tottenham Hotspur lost at Old Trafford late last month and fell eight points behind Manchester City, captain Hugo Lloris seemed relatively optimistic about his side’s prospects of staying involved in the race for the crown.
While stressing “we don’t really talk about the title”, he added: “City have a good advantage at the moment but every team is going to have their momentum and their bad moment too, so we just need to be consistent and be ready in the final sprint in March and April.”
A few weeks on, Spurs have just lost again – this time to north London rivals Arsenal – and have slipped 11 points behind Pep Guardiola’s pacesetters.
This time, when asked about the gap to the leaders, Lloris seemed more pessimistic. While he repeated that there is plenty of time for City to have a wobble, talk is already turning to the battle for Champions League qualification.
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“Before thinking about City it’s important to stay in the top four,” said the skipper. “This is the main target for the team because we heard from outside about playing for the title and all that. I think the most important thing is to stay consistent in the league.
“We’ve been in the top four for the last two years. We need to carry on and settle the club in this position and try to get more experience - because this team is still young - and reduce the gap with the best. Obviously then the future for Tottenham will be bright.
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“[The title] is our ambition obviously, but step by step - and then a lot of things can happen until the end. The league is a long way and it’s important to stay consistent.
“It’s true we wanted to do more against Man United and Arsenal. We wanted to get more from those games, but unfortunately we couldn’t, so now it’s important to have a run of victories because we need to keep our place at the top. Mentally we need to be ready for that.”
Tottenham’s last two defeats have reinforced concerns about Spurs’ results away against the Premier League’s top six sides.
They have only won one of their 17 trips to Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool under Mauricio Pochettino – and even draws have proved beyond them at Old Trafford and the Emirates so far this term.
“I think the most important thing is to win at home,” said Lloris. “When you play at home you need to get the points, and away you try to get what you can get.
“We’re obviously very disappointed. Against Man United and then again this time, it was a bit similar because in terms of performance it’s difficult to blame the players - the spirit was good, we were in the fight, we were able to develop our game with the ball on the floor.
“But in the final third we need more aggression, more movement. That isn’t down to one player, it’s three or four offensive players. But they do so well and it’s difficult.
“We know the opponent again was a great opponent, and again they were defensively very strong individually.
“Then big games are about little details and this time they didn’t want to go on our side, with the referee’s decisions.
“I don’t want to blame the referee, he’s human and it can happen, even in an important game like this. I don’t want to hide the whole result behind the referee’s decisions, but he had a big impact unfortunately for us.
“Two goals were offside, it was not a foul on [Alexis] Sanchez because Davinson [Sanchez] was great one against one. Then you need a bit of luck at this level. Both teams have the same level. We tried to be dominant but the game didn’t turn our way.”