Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho says Hugo Lloris still has his full backing after a string of recent errors by the goalkeeper.
The France captain had enjoyed an impressive start to the campaign as Spurs rose to the top of the Premier League but has been at fault for a number of goals in recent weeks, including two in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Manchester City.
But Mourinho is backing the 34-year-old to come good as insists he remains one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
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“Well, when a player is a top player, it’s not because of one mistake or two or three that means he’s not a top player again,” Mourinho said.
“That’s the most important thing. I shouldn’t speak about it because he’s not my goalkeeper, but I don’t think he will take it in the wrong way. For me Alisson is one of the top five best goalkeepers in the world and in the last couple of matches, not at Leipzig, but in the matches before he’s made big mistakes but he’s is one of the top five goalkeepers in the world.
“And Hugo is the same. He’s an amazing, amazing goalkeeper that is performing super consistently since he recovered from that fracture. Since my time here, he (Lloris) is recovering so, so well. If he had responsibility in one or another goal we conceded recently, he’s still the same goalkeeper.
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“He’s my number one choice and he has all my trust and my confidence.”
Lloris is likely to make way as Spurs return to Europa League action on Thursday against Austrian side Wolfsberg, with Joe Hart expected to come into the side.
Mourinho added of the former England keeper: “In Joe Hart’s case, I’m also happy. He played already, if I’m not wrong, nine matches this season which is more, if I’m not wrong, than what he played in the previous two seasons.
“So in half of the season here I believed he played more matches than in the previous two seasons. Which is very, very good. He’s also goalkeeper I totally trust, too.”
When Spurs last played in Europe before Christmas they were top of the Premier League, but their form has nose-dived since and three wins from their last 12 games has made them outsiders to qualify for the top four.
That might make winning the Europa League their best route back into the Champions League, but Mourinho has not closed the door to a top-four finish.
“It’s difficult in any case but it’s possible in both cases. The fourth position in the Premier League is of course very difficult but is mathematically possible. Last season we were in a very, very bad position to try to get into the Europa League spots and in the end we made it in the last minute of the last game but we made it.
“Our motivation last season was while mathematically it’s possible we have to go. I remember we were coming from a 3-1 defeat against Sheffield and even with that result that looked crucial in that moment of the season mathematically it was possible and we chased it until the last game, which is the same thing we’re going to do.
“In the Europa League there are an incredible number of matches and we are in the 10th and not even in the last 16. Still in the last 32, so long, long competition.
“Very good teams, very good teams. You just look to the English teams in it and you see how strong the competition can be, but it’s open. We’re one of the 32 teams that has a chance to win it and we’re going to try.”
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Spurs will be without Sergio Reguilon for the trip to Budapest, where the game was moved to due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the Spanish left-back could return at the weekend against West Ham.
“No, good news is not coming, is not coming,” Mourinho added. “No setback. Just the process is not going as fast as initially we thought. But no setback. So let’s see. Let’s see. Weekend, next Europa League match next Wednesday, let’s see.”
On the venue switch, Mourinho said: “If this tie is played one match let’s say in neutral stadium, and another one in our stadium, probably they will feel a little bit, they will feel that is a little bit unfair because it’s two legs, and normally two legs is one home one away.
“But the rules are the rules. Many times I disagree with rules, other times I agree with them. But you just have to accept the way it is. I don’t think my opinion is important.”
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