Tottenham Hotspur captain Hugo Lloris has called on the club’s fanbase to turn out in full force and voice in the Champions League against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday amid a significant drop this season in attendances.
Spurs averaged almost 68,000 during their first season at Wembley but, with uncertainty over whether the club will move to their new White Hart Lane stadium before the summer and certain matches' attendances capped, numbers have fallen during this second season at the national stadium to an average of just over 50,000.
That has dipped below 45,000 in each of the last three home games at which there has been a 51,000 restriction, bottoming out at 29,164 against Watford, despite the ongoing possibility of a first league title since 1961. Wembley, though, will be at its full 90,000 capacity for the last 16 first leg of the Champions League against Bundesliga leaders Dortmund on Wednesday and the club are confident of a crowd in excess of 51,000.
“We need the stadium to push, to help us - in some days it's difficult to deal with Wembley but hopefully in this big game we'll receive this help from the crowd,” said Lloris.
Tottenham’s 3-1 win against Leicester City was their fourth consecutive Premier League victory in the ongoing absence both of Harry Kane and Dele Alli to respective ankle and hamstring injuries. Dortmund are five points clear of Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga and manager Mauricio Pochettino believes his team will be at a “massive disadvantage” after having the Leicester match moved to Sunday and so one less recovery day.
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Lloris also says that Tottenham will need to produce a significantly better performance than in what were relatively scrappy wins against Watford, Leicester City and Newcastle.
“They [Dortmund] play fantastic football,” said Lloris. “They have so many fantastic players and I'm not surprised they're top of the league in Germany. The manager is very good with a great idea of football. It's going to be very, very difficult. We need to obviously improve the team performance.
“In terms of performance, we have to do better if we want to dream of big achievements. But in terms of mentality, spirit you cannot ask more. We won [against Leicester] but against a bigger side we couldn't have won that type of game. We won the game thanks to our spirit and character. For sure we'll improve. We need to deal with a few more games and then hopefully the squad will be full again until the end.”
Lloris saved a crucial second-half penalty against Leicester on Sunday and admitted that he was surprised to see Jamie Vardy being substituted on after Jan Vertonghen was judged to have fouled James Maddison and then immediately taking the spot-kick.
“Yes [I was surprised], because his first touch is a penalty,” said Lloris. “At the same time, he's a great player so it's not a problem for him. It was a good moment for me and the team because at that moment if we conceded a goal the game would have changed completely.
“I know him [Vardy] a little more than other players. He usually shoots strong and he can go everywhere. You need intuition and a bit of luck.”