Tottenham Hotspur captain Hugo Lloris has urged his teammates to act like a ‘top team’ after only narrowly beating Eintracht Frankfurt 3-2 on Wednesday evening.
Spurs came from a goal down to lead 3-1 against the Bundesliga side on matchday four of the Champions League group stage, with the hosts putting in one of their better performances all season.
After Frankfurt were reduced to ten men, Tottenham took their foot off the gas a little and were nearly made to pay late on. Faride Alidou scored a header in the 87th minute before Harry Kane missed a stoppage-time penalty and wasted a good crossing opportunity for Bryan Gil to score soon after.
Antonio Conte’s men held on to claim a vital three points and move top of Group D, but Lloris warned that such a slip in concentration is unacceptable.
“Maybe we thought the game was over, but at this level, there is no easy game, even against 10 men. You have to be more focused and avoid this type of ending. But we’re happy with the three points,” Lloris said post-match.
“We should have been more able to control the game in the second half. At some point we started to do a little bit less effort. Obviously, there were a lot of changes, but it’s part of the game and a good opportunity for the players who came on.
“We work so hard every day that you can understand that we can be frustrated after a game like this one, because we should have managed the game better. But I’m happy with the three points, that’s the most important thing and we had a great reaction after [conceding].
“But it’s just this feeling with ups and downs. When you want to be a top team you have to be able to control games like this one better.
“We want to get the points and be in a good position before the World Cup, in the Premier League and every competition in which we’re involved. But we know that to arrive at this level we need to perform well. We’re capable of performing well, but we’re still looking for improvement.”
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Part of Spurs’ near-collapse may have been to do with Conte making the most of the five substitutions rule, and while Spurs did play the final third of the match at a slower pace, Lloris reckons the frantic finish mitigated any benefits of resting key players.
“When we have the possibility to control games, you can save a lot of energy,” Lloris went on. “But in the way we finished, I don’t think we saved energy.
“In two weeks’ time, there will be another final against Sporting and we have to create a special atmosphere – the players but also the fans – to make sure we get the win we need to ensure qualification.”
Tottenham will qualify for the knockout stages should they beat Sporting in a fortnight.