Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is sounding more and more like his angry boss as Spurs drop big games, perhaps none bigger than Thursday’s massive blown lead at Dinamo Zagreb to bow out of the Europe League.
First, let’s go back to the weekend: Spurs manager Jose Mourinho said “players were hiding” in the North London derby and understandably those comments hit the headlines.
[ MORE: Three things from Zagreb-Spurs ]
But Spurs fans paying attention to the whole team would’ve noted that their captain said something similar, saying that every attacker other than Lucas Moura failed in their work at Arsenal.
So come Thursday, Mourinho lambasted the effort, ambition, and intensity of players in blowing a 2-0 first leg lead via a 3-2 extra time loss in Croatia, saying the players failed at “the basics of life — which is to respect our jobs and give everything.”
What did Lloris have to say? In some way, it was worse. The captain used the word “disgrace” on three times during a frank and damning verdict on Spurs’ attitudes.
“We are more than disappointed,” Lloris said. “It’s a disgrace. I just hope everyone in the training room feels responsible for the situation because it’s a disgrace. What can I say more about it?
“The taste of defeat is more than painful and we are all responsible for that.”
Lloris ripped into players for saying the right things for the cameras and microphones but not bringing that effort to training.
It seems to point at some high-profile players who do not start every match. And it doesn’t reflect well on anyone, though it will surely have Mourinho nodding along and maybe buying Lloris a dinner.
[ MORE: Mourinho tears into Spurs effort ]
“It’s accumulation,” Lloris said. “We are a club full of ambition but the team at the moment is a reflection of what’s going on in the club. We have a lack of basics, fundamentals, and all of our performances are in relation of that. Mentally we should be stronger, more competitive. Today I didn’t feel that on the field unfortunately, When you are not ready at this level, you pay right away. If you don’t respect the opponent, it’s punishment and that’s what happened today. They played the game full of belief but the blame is on us. All the team. All the club. We are guilty.”
“It’s not possible. The way we play is just not enough. Not enough. One thing is to come in front of the camera and say I’m ambitious. The other thing is to say every day on the pitch. To behave as a team is the most difficult thing in football. Whatever is the decision of the manager, you have to follow the way of the team. If you follow the way of the team only when you’re in the Starting XI, you’re going to pay in your season. We had a great moment in the past because we could trust the togetherness in the team. Today I’m not sure about that.”
“The message from the manager was clear, to attack the game, to score one goal as quickly as possible to make the game easier but it happened the opposite. Dinamo started to believe again and if you don’t kill the opponent, they are going to come. They scored an amazing goal and then the game was opponent. We never felt like the game was under control and that we were the dominant team. We were far from that.”
“Anything is possible in football. If you look at all the experience that we got as players, we all had that experience from one leg to another, everything can turn if you make the perfect game. What is more painful is the feeling that we came here without the desire to kill the game. When you are a competitor, you cannot behave in that way.”
“The confidence was back inside the Zagreb team and the game became even harder but this is the story of the game. We cannot change it unfortunately. It’s a disgrace from us and we can only feel sorry for the fans because every year they are full of hopes and this competition would mean a lot but now we have to get back to basics and fight to get back into this competition next season.
“I think we all belong to the team. Football is not about individual players, that there are 2, 3, 4 players who are going to step up. We need more than that. On the bench there’s an influence to have to push the others. In training sessions the same. It’s not stay on your side and complain because in the end, what we have to respect is the badge. It’s over all the players in the place. We have to respect the badge.”
Look, it’s simultaneously okay to recognize that Mourinho is sleeping in the bed he made whenever his words get amplified to the heavens, but Spurs absolutely have had issues in this room with effort.
Dele Alli and Gareth Bale are the names that will leap to the forefront and perhaps they should. Bale had his issues with Zinedine Zidane that were forgiven back home but now perhaps they are appearing in front of a domestic audience. Dele didn’t come off well in the Amazon show behind the scenes at Spurs, and Lloris would surely know he’s not giving any player cover with his words.
Maybe Mourinho’s at the root of Tottenham’s problems. Maybe. But even if he is, if you’re not Harry Kane, Lloris, or Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, there are real questions about the attitude in North London. And they’ll have to answer them after flying home from Croatia to meet a hungry and angry Aston Villa.
This interview from Hugo Lloris is absolutely riveting. Says Tottenham’s performance was a “disgrace” and essentially calls out players who aren’t playing regularly as troublemakers #THFC #UEL pic.twitter.com/y478eB1UcL
— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) March 18, 2021