Hugo Lloris says Tottenham must up their game to beat Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League

Dan Kilpatrick
Evening Standard

Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris has warned his team-mates they cannot hope to win ugly in Wednesday’s clash with Borussia Dortmund after riding their luck against Leicester City.

Clinical finishing earned Spurs a 3-1 win to maintain a five-point gap to Man City and Liverpool. For a fourth successive League game without Harry Kane, Spurs had to find a way to win while not at their best, and they had Lloris to thank after the goalkeeper saved Jamie Vardy’s penalty — the striker’s first touch of the game — at 1-0, before denying Harvey Barnes with an outstretched leg.

Leicester pushed for an equaliser after Vardy made it 2-1, but Son sprinted clear in stoppage-time to score his 15th goal of the season and maintain Tottenham’s title push.

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Lloris could not fault his side’s spirit but warned they must improve for the Champions League round-of-16 first leg against the Bundesliga leaders.

“Dortmund play fantastic football with fantastic players and I’m not surprised they’re top of the league in Germany,” said Lloris.

Photo: EPA/Andy Rain
Photo: EPA/Andy Rain

“It’s going to be very, very difficult. We need to improve the team performance compared to yesterday and we need the stadium to help us. Some days it’s difficult to deal with Wembley but, hopefully, in this big game we’ll receive this help from the crowd.

“Leicester played fantastic and we won the game thanks to our spirit and character. Without that, we could not win. [But] we need to improve the team performance.

“Against a bigger side we couldn’t have won that type of game. It’s up to us. But the most important thing was to get another three points in a difficult period. We kept consistency, so it’s a great feeling in the changing room.

“Leicester had 20 shots and against a bigger side it would be difficult to win that way. But sometimes you deserve to win, like the game against Man United, and you lose. Yesterday, Leicester deserved better but we won. This is the League. The mentality is great in the changing room and we showed that again on a difficult day.

“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. Now we need to deal with a few more games and then, hopefully, the squad will be full again until the end [of the season]. First of all we need to keep our place in the top four and then maybe more. We’ll see.”

Dropped to the bench despite his impressive record against top-six sides, Vardy had a chance to score with his first touch after being introduced immediately after James Maddison had won a soft penalty. Vardy grabbed the ball from Maddison but sent his spot-kick too close to Lloris, and the striker’s misery was compounded when Eriksen finished smartly from 20 yards four minutes later.

“I was surprised he took it because his first touch is a penalty,” Lloris said. “He usually shoots strong and he can go everywhere [in the goal], but on his first touch? It was a good moment for me and the team because if we conceded the game would have changed completely.”

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino described his players as “heroes” but was left frustrated by the Premier League and referee Michael Oliver. Pochettino reiterated that Spurs had been put at a “massive disadvantage” on Wednesday by being made to play 24 hours after Dortmund and criticised referee Oliver for booking Son for diving.

“I don’t understand why,” Pochettino said. “Do you think that Sonny deserved to be booked? Unbelievable. When you compare the situation with the penalty [given] against us, unbelievable.”

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