Hugo Lloris feels his decision to stay at Tottenham has been justified by the team’s remarkable progress under Mauricio Pochettino.
Lloris joined Spurs from Lyon in 2012 but after two turbulent seasons, which included the sackings of Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood, the France captain was considering his future at the club.
Pochettino, however, convinced his goalkeeper to persevere and the pair have been instrumental in Tottenham’s rise, with Lloris’ inspired performance key to Spurs’ 1-1 draw against Real Madrid on Tuesday.
The point earned in the Santiago Bernabeu leaves Pochettino’s side within touching distance of the Champions League knock-out stages and Lloris admits his patience has been rewarded.
“Does it justify my decision? Yes, from the first moment I believed in Pochettino, and that’s it,” Lloris said.
“I don’t need that [result] to say ‘yes, I was right at the time’. It was just 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 seeing this development. I try my best to help the team and the club to develop too.”
Tottenham sit level with Madrid on seven points in Group H, six ahead of Borussia Dortmund and Apoel Nicosia at the halfway stage.
It is a far cry from their string of disappointing seasons in the Europa League and even last year’s displays in the Champions League, when Spurs failed to make it out of a group that included Monaco, CSKA Moscow and Bayer Leverkusen.
“This is what I said to them, to my team-mates: ‘Don’t forget that three years ago we were still in the Europa League’,” Lloris said.
“Last season we discovered as a team the Champions League but we were very disappointed with the performances that we had.
“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, and you can see Dortmund drew [there] so it’s not an easy place.”
Tottenham could even have beaten Madrid had Harry Kane finished an excellent chance late on but they also had Lloris to thank for avoiding defeat.
He made a number of excellent saves in the second half, including one with his legs to deny Karim Benzema’s header, when the striker looked certain to score from four yards.
“Everything came so quick. He was so close to the goal. I think he probably should have scored,” Lloris said.
“I tried to get the most space as possible and then the ball hit me. It’s part of our job, sometimes you need luck, and you need a strong defence too, and that was the case there.”