Hugo Lloris admits he has been frustrated by Tottenham’s disappointing European campaigns during his time at the club – and the captain feels that is the biggest area for improvement this season.
The 30-year-old reached the semi-final of the Champions League with Lyon in 2010. But, since his move to north London, Spurs’ best effort on the continent has been their run to the Europa League quarter-finals under Andre Villas-Boas in 2013.
Last season Mauricio Pochettino’s side were involved in the Champions League, but they exited in the group stage and were then immediately eliminated from the Europa League too, falling in the last-32 stage against Belgian outfit Gent.
Tottenham will get another shot at the Champions League this term and, asked if Europe represents the biggest area where they can improve, Lloris said: “Yes, I agree with you.
“It’s been five seasons now that I’ve been with Spurs and I’ve got a little bit frustrated about European competition, because I think we’ve got the talent to go further than we’ve done. Even in the Champions League – the highest level possible in Europe – we have the potential to reach another level.
“Hopefully this season we can prove our real value, to compete against the best teams in Europe and go as far as possible, even if the first target will be to get our of the group stage.”
Asked if a lack of experience has been a major factor for Spurs’ youthful squad, Lloris replied: “Yes, probably.
“The last two or three years, we went through different experiences in the FA Cup and the Premier League, even the international competitions for the English players, for the Belgians, for me.
“It’s important. You cannot arrive one day and expect success. You need time, it’s a philosophy and that’s why we are waking up to work hard, push ourselves to the limit and try to get the success.
“We’ve been able to get such great performances in the Premier League and we just need to repeat that in the Champions League. Hopefully that will happen this year.
“Many of the players last season, it was their first experience of the Champions League. We can say whatever we want but there is always a first time in your career, and it’s like the Euros for the English players.
“We know the talent and the potential but it’s step by step. You need to go through different experiences. I believe a lot in this team and the club.”
Lloris, speaking as a group of Spurs players helped to maintain the greenery on the iconic High Line in New York, continued: “In the last two or three seasons, we’re building something strong. It’s about the concept, it’s about basics and one thing that can help us is knowing each other so well.
“We’re used to working together for a long time now and that’s a strength. We need to keep that. Every season the level has to be a step up – individually, collectively.”
While Lloris feels the stability in the squad is a source of power, Tottenham’s rivals have been recruiting at great expense, and Manchester City have now spent more than £200million this summer. Meanwhile, Spurs are yet to sign anyone.
“I trust my club, I trust my manager and the chairman,” said Lloris. “I don’t know what will happen for Tottenham in the next few weeks. Like you, I’m looking around in Europe in the transfer market, but I’m just thinking about Tottenham.
“I know in the Premier League it’s getting harder every season, but that’s why I love it. It’s the most competitive league in the world and every week is a big fight. That’s why I enjoy it.”
One of City’s signings has jumped ship from Tottenham – Kyle Walker, who was briefly the world’s most expensive defender at £50m before Pep Guardiola added £52m left-back Benjamin Mendy to his squad.
“We all have individual ambition,” said Lloris. “Even if we belong to a club, it’s about decisions – the chairman, the manager, the players.
“But I repeat, all the players are enjoying their time at Tottenham. We’re all ambitious, we all want success with Tottenham. Under this manager, we know we’ll be ready to compete again this season.”
Lloris was among four members of Tottenham’s squad who volunteered for the Friends of the High Line charity on Monday afTernoon during Spurs’ pre-season tour of the USA. The players helped to renovate the 23rd Street Lawn, which stretches for an entire block.
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs and visit my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BenPearceSpurs/