HUGO LLORIS reckons Tottenham’s rise proves he was right not to quit the club for Manchester United.
The keeper and skipper was linked with a move to Old Trafford two years ago. But he was persuaded to stay at Spurs by manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Tottenham have finished second and third in the last two seasons. And on Tuesday Lloris helped his team to earn an impressive 1-1 draw away to Champions League holders Real Madrid.
Asked if this justified him not leaving Spurs, Lloris said: “Yes. From the first moment I believed in Pochettino, and that’s it. I don’t need that to say yes, I was right at the time.
“It was my feeling when I met him.
“Now I just enjoy the football we play. Sometimes in football, you live great moments, and you live some sad moments.
“But there is a great potential in the squad, a great project in our club, and I am looking forward to see this development.
“I try my best to help the team and the club to develop too.”
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Lloris pulled off a string of fine saves in the Bernabeu, including one sensational block with his legs to deny his international team-mate Karim Benzema at point-blank range.
The France No1 said: “I don’t know how I did that – everything came so quick. He was so close to the goal. I think he probably should have scored.
“I think the ball hit my leg. And then… because I tried to take advantage during the time of the cross. Try to get the most space as possible, and then the ball hit me
“It’s part of our job, sometimes you need luck, a goalkeeper needs luck. And you need a strong defence too, and that was the case.”
Before the game Lloris called on his Tottenham team to show their “true face” – so did they achieve that?
He said: “Yes, that’s what we did. We showed identity, especially in first half.
“Unfortunately we conceded the penalty just before half-time. It could have affected us, but the opposite.
“We stayed strong, connected and focused on our game.
“The second half was tough, until the end. We lost the control of the ball, we lost the control of possession. But I think we kept some important balls, up front, in our style.
“We could have scored the second goal too, but we could have conceded the second goal. It was an open game, as we expected. Madrid was strong, it was tough.
“We can be very pleased and happy with this result.
“Don’t forget that three years ago we were still in the Europa League. Last season we…discovered as a team the Champions League. But we were very disappointed with the performances that we had.
“And I think we built a strong confidence from the start of this competition, with a good win against Dortmund, we confirmed that win in Nicosia.
“Then, as I said in my press conference, it was a perfect game to show our face, to show identity.
“And honestly I am very happy for my team-mates and happy for the manager, because he’s a great manager and that kind of game proved it.
“But the most important thing in football is to stay up there and the next Champions League game against Madrid at Wembley will be just as tough.”