EPL

Lloris puts spate of Spurs errors down to role in France's World Cup run

By Sports Desk January 20, 2023

Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has blamed a lack of "mental freshness" for his recent costly errors, which he puts down to France's run to the World Cup final.

Lloris played in six of France's seven matches in Qatar, including a full part in their 3-3 final draw against Argentina after extra time that ended in a 4-2 defeat on penalties.

The 36-year-old, who has since called time on his international career, returned to club action with Spurs on January 1 and has made a spate of errors in his four games since.

He was beaten too easily by Riyad Mahrez in Spurs' 4-2 collapse at Manchester City on Thursday, having also been at fault for goals against Aston Villa and Arsenal.

Indeed, his four errors leading to goals – as defined by Opta – are more than those of any other goalkeeper across Europe's top five leagues in all competitions this season.

On the back of a tough month for club and country, Lloris accepts the criticism he is facing.

"I can't complain. You're a professional and you just follow a rhythm," he told the Evening Standard. 

"When you're involved with the national team and you go until the last day of the World Cup, you come back and miss mental freshness. But you need to get back on track.

"When you look at the Arsenal goal, I can be in a good position, but the deflection hit the ball on my chest and with the spin it goes over [the line]. 

"It's something that even if I wanted to do on purpose, I can't. Even on Thursday, when you look at the third [City] goal, a deflection makes the ball go over my knee."

After conceding four second-half goals against City, Tottenham have now conceded 31 goals after 20 Premier League games – their highest tally since the 2007-08 season (36).

Spurs have lost three of their past four league games ahead of Monday's visit to Fulham and are five points off the top four, having played a game more than the sides above them.

Despite crumbling against City, though, Lloris insists his side do not collectively have a mentality issue.

"When you look at the guys working every day, we can't blame anyone," he said. "We have probably lacked consistency in our performances. 

"I believe we struggle a bit to play 90 to 95 minutes at our best, things we were able to do last season, especially in the last two to three months.

"But the most important period is ahead of us: February, March, April and May is where you play for everything, and it’s important going forward to get our level back."

Related items

  • Hungary boss Rossi visits Varga in hospital after facial injury Hungary boss Rossi visits Varga in hospital after facial injury

    Hungary coach Marco Rossi has visited Barnabas Varga in hospital after the forward underwent surgery on the worrying facial injury he suffered against Scotland.

    During the second half of Sunday's 1-0 win over Scotland, which sealed Hungary's third-place finish in Group A and likely qualification for the last 16 of Euro 2024, Varga collided with the elbow of opposing goalkeeper Angus Gunn while attempting to reach a cross into the box.

    Sheeting was placed around Varga as other players called for urgent medical attention, and it was later confirmed he had been knocked unconscious, suffering a concussion and breaking several bones in his face.

    The Hungarian Football Federation later confirmed he had undergone surgery and was expected to be discharged on Wednesday.

    On Tuesday, the national team's social media accounts shared an image of Varga giving a thumbs-up from hospital, with coach Rossi, full-back Endre Botka and other backroom staff members alongside him.

    UEFA has insisted there was "no delay" to Varga receiving treatment in the aftermath of the collision, after Liverpool's Dominik Szoboszlai accused medical staff of a slow response. 

  • 'I did my thesis on 3-5-2' – Spalletti rages at talk of formation pact with Italy players 'I did my thesis on 3-5-2' – Spalletti rages at talk of formation pact with Italy players

    Luciano Spalletti raged at suggestions a pact with his players resulted in Italy's switch to a 3-5-2 formation for Monday's draw with Croatia, as they scraped into the last 16 at Euro 2024. 

    Following a 2-1 win over Albania and a deserved 1-0 defeat to Spain, the defending champions entered their final match in Group B with their fate in the balance.

    Luka Modric's goal – which made him the oldest goalscorer in Euros history at 38 years and 289 days – put them on the brink of a third-place finish, which would have left them waiting nervously on other results to discover whether they had qualified.

    However, Mattia Zaccagni stepped off the bench to curl home a brilliant equaliser after 97 minutes and 19 seconds, the second-latest goal in Euros history (excluding extra time), after Hungary's Kevin Csoboth versus Scotland one day earlier (99:33).

    Italy will now face Switzerland for a quarter-final spot on Saturday, but their performances have not been universally welcomed at home.

    Reports in the Italian media suggested Spalletti abandoned his favoured 4-3-3 setup for a 3-5-2 shape at his players' behest, and the former Napoli boss was furious when asked about those claims in his post-match press conference.

    "In my opinion, this is what you were told," Spalletti said, before asking the reporter his age.

    "You're 51, you still have 14 years before you get to 65 like me. I speak to the players, I need to hear with their ears and see with their eyes, so I talk to them, what is the problem?"

    Spalletti went on to claim someone in the Italy camp had leaked details of his conversations with the squad, saying: "Don't claim this is your poetic licence, this is just a weakness of those who leak things.

    "There is an internal environment and an external one and if in the internal environment there are those who speak of certain things outside, it's someone who harms the national team.

    "I did my thesis at Coverciano on 3-5-2. I'll let you see it later. It's only natural that I speak to the players."

    Though Italy attempted over twice as many shots as Croatia (13 to six), they only hit the target three times and lost the expected goals (xG) battle, 1.49-0.98.

    Asked whether he was afraid of failing at his first major tournament, Spalletti said: "Am I afraid? 

    "What am I afraid of? If I was afraid, I would have just come here like you guys to watch the games. I would have done another job.

    "I know so many people that would have given me free tickets. It's only natural that there's pressure, but we go out there to play."

  • Spain 'free to dream' at Euro 2024 but must stay grounded, says De la Fuente Spain 'free to dream' at Euro 2024 but must stay grounded, says De la Fuente

    Spain are "free to dream" of Euro 2024 glory but must ensure they remain humble after maintaining a perfect record through the group stage, says coach Luis de la Fuente.

    La Roja topped Group B – thought by many to be the most difficult group at the tournament – with nine points and no goals conceded, beating Albania 1-0 in their third match on Monday despite resting most of their star players, courtesy of Ferran Torres' goal.

    They have become just the second team to win all three group-stage matches at a Euros tournament to nil, after eventual champions Italy at the delayed 2020 edition.

    It is also the first time La Roja have ever gone through an entire group stage at a major tournament (World Cup or Euros) without conceding. 

    With his team now being tipped as one of the favourites to lift the trophy for a record-breaking fourth time, De la Fuente has warned against complacency. 

    "We are all free to dream, but we have to keep our feet on the ground. Being considered favourites doesn't guarantee you anything," De la Fuente said.

    "We welcome the fact that people value the work we are doing and recognise the talent of this generation. Winning all three games, with clean sheets in all three, it's extremely difficult.

    "But let's not get carried away. We know how things work in Spain. One day you're at the top and the next day you're worthless."

    Spain's last-16 tie will be played at the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne on Sunday, though they must wait to discover the identity of their opponents.

    They will face a third-place finisher from Group A, D, E or F, meaning their foes will not become clear until the final two groups have concluded on Wednesday.  

    That does not sit well with De la Fuente, who added: "Now we will have to spend a night awake because of the short time we have to study the next opponent. 

    "Of course we have room for improvement, it's a principle that we have established in the dressing room. We are not satisfied and this group is very ambitious.

    "But in any case, we'll be mentally prepared and ready to go all out to overcome this tie. Of course we will."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.