Hugo Lloris interview: Tottenham captain on goalkeeping, Zagreb and what success means now for Spurs

In an exclusive interview, Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris reflects on the fall-out from Zagreb and what must happen for Spurs to succeed. Watch Everton vs Tottenham live on Sky Sports Premier League from 7.30pm on Friday Night Football; kick-off 8pm

Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris
Image: Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris speaks exclusively to Sky Sports ahead of Friday night's clash at Everton

There is a statistic about Hugo Lloris that might surprise. Assessing shots by location and type before checking where on the goalmouth those shots were struck, it is possible to calculate the likelihood of a goalkeeper saving them. Lloris comes out above his peers as the best goalkeeper in the Premier League.

David de Gea's dip in form is reflected in the statistic that suggests he should have prevented many more goals than he has over the past three seasons. Ederson has been worth five goals, Alisson six. But the Tottenham captain has been worth 18 to 19 goals.

The occasional error masks the truth about Lloris. He makes saves others do not. Even in the defeat to Manchester United last weekend, there was a low stop to his left from Bruno Fernandes that one suspects - and data confirms - would have beaten others.

"These numbers are very positive," Lloris tells Sky Sports. He is laughing. "This is a good way to start the interview. I don't know how we are going to end but it is a good way to start."

He knows what is coming. Tottenham have won one game in four in the Premier League and are out of Europe after an unexpected humbling against Dinamo Zagreb. More on that later. But what does this World Cup-winning captain put his enduring form down to at the age of 34?

"It is about details. Positioning. Steps. Decision-making. Experience helps but you need to repeat and repeat. That is really important. You always want to improve. Even at 34, I still have this mentality and there are tools now that I did not have 10 to 12 years ago."

Lloris leans on the video analysis. Sometimes he will go through it with the goalkeeper coach. Other times he will do so alone. But he will always go through it.

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"After a good game or a bad game you always question yourself. Even if you have had a good game, there will be an action that you want to watch again to check your position and to check any details that could have made the situation better for yourself."

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One wonders what he could have seen when watching back that stunning hat-trick by Dinamo's Mislav Orsic that has threatened to derail Spurs' season. On the face of it, there was little he could have done about the goals. It is typical of Lloris that he is more critical.

"As a goalkeeper, you always feel responsible when you concede a goal. Even if it the best goal that can be scored, you look at how you could have stopped it. If it is not with my body, it could be with my voice. I could have given information quicker to my team-mates."

Lloris caused a stir in the immediate aftermath of the game when describing the team's performance as 'disgraceful' and even one month on it is apparent that the exit still grates.

He is fronting up again and wants to make it clear that he does not exclude himself from blame. He believes in the power of the goalkeeper to set the tone for the rest of the team.

Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris' goals conceded

"You are always looking to help the team and influence the result. That is the way I think. You can have this influence as a goalkeeper. For example, when you catch a ball at the end of a game and go on the ground for a few seconds to give a breather to your team-mates.

"Also, you can do it in the opposite way when you are losing. You can do it quick, find the first pass as quickly as you can. You can give a rhythm from the back. You can have an influence on the players in front of you - the back four and midfielders - with your voice.

"The offensive players are quite far up the pitch so that makes things a little harder. Today, it is possible without the crowds but with the crowds it is impossible. That is why I really think that the leadership and management of the team depends on its spine.

"You need a few voices to transmit the feelings and the formations and stuff like that. It is proper teamwork so when we talk about captaincy I like to share the responsibility with other players on the pitch because we need each other for the wellness of the team.

"Everything is connected. In Zagreb, the team did not deliver. We switched off. At 2-2, we tried to switch on but it was too late. It was a collective issue. It was a team problem."

Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris' shots faced

Was he aware of the reaction to his interview?

"I heard, obviously, but I did not need to listen to the comments. As a captain, you have a responsibility to go in front of the camera after this big failure in the Europa League.

"It is a competition that we all said was a target for a trophy. To lose against Dinamo Zagreb is something, for me, that you cannot accept. It is not a lack of respect. It is just that when you have standards as a club, this ambition to win, and especially to fail in that way, after winning the first leg 2-0, it was just an honest statement on that.

"It was a way to share the responsibility. I am the first one to be guilty. But it is not only me. It is the players. It is the manager. It is the coaching staff. It is the club, you know?"

It is a club that Lloris knows well. "It has been nine years." Nobody should doubt his passion for Tottenham. "If I am still here it is because I really care about the club," he adds. "Those things affect me as a professional and they affect me as a person."

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Supporters will welcome the palpable sense that players are hurting as much as they are. Heung-Min Son's dejected interview after the loss to United was just the latest evidence of that. But what they really want to see is some evidence that the corner can be turned.

"There was a really good response against Aston Villa after this defeat. We did not play an amazing game but I felt a proper team, ready to fight, compete, and give their best.

"Then there was the international break. We came back and I saw a team against Newcastle and Manchester United still trying to give its best with the right attitude. But it is about details. Details that we should improve if we want to be higher up the table."

The mood has changed quickly. The message now is that it can change again. Tottenham have a Wembley cup final against Manchester City next week. Victory over Everton on Friday evening would restore some belief ahead of what could be a defining game.

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"We know the power of a win. It gives you confidence. It gives you energy. That is what we are looking for. As soon as you win one game, you want to win a second and then a third.

"Then you can create a stability in terms of emotion that can help the team because I really feel that we have a lack of confidence when you analyse our performances.

"We are not so far from the others in terms of quality but it is just that sometimes we should be stronger as a team. There is a lot of expectation on Tottenham because of what we have done in the past few seasons. That is normal. But we are not giving up."

Now is not the time for that. Not when a first trophy in 13 years could be a matter of days away if Tottenham can just find a way through this difficult period and put things right.

Lloris knows plenty about silverware, of course. He was able to lift the most important trophy in football at the World Cup in 2018. For some time his replica of it adorned Mauricio Pochettino's office. No longer. "It is mine," he smiles. "When he left, I took it back."

So, what does success at Jose Mourinho's Tottenham look like to a winner like Lloris?

"Success, I don't know. It has been a hard season. If you talk to all the players in the changing room and you ask them what they want, they will say it is to win trophies.

"The most difficult thing is to do it, obviously.

"It all depends on how we finish the season. There is a final to win and if we win that trophy it will be positive. It will not clean the season because a defeat like the one against Zagreb is one that is still hurting. The Europa League was an ambition, a target.

"But there are still a few things to save the season and we have to fight to save them. We will give everything, do as well as we can, and see where we are after the last game. We have a responsibility not to give up and go to the end with big games ahead.

"There is a season to finish and we want to finish it in the best way."

Watch Everton vs Tottenham live on Sky Sports Premier League from 7.30pm on Friday Night Football; kick-off 8pm

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