Hugo Lloris was quite clearly Tottenham Hotspur’s man of the match in Spurs’ Champions League draw against Bayer Leverkusen, and manager Mauricio Pochettino told reporters in the post-match press conference just how good he thinks he is.
Lloris almost single-handedly earned Spurs a vital point in Germany with an incredible goal-line stop of Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez in the second half, and was also able to stop a number of other shots on target as Bayer battered Spurs’ defense late in the game. Pochettino was effusive with praise for his keeper.
“After two years here that only I can say good things about Hugo Lloris. He is a fantastic goalkeeper and one of the best in the world. He was brilliant again. I don’t change my opinion about him. He is top quality, he is one of the best. He is in the best moment in his career. And it is always important to have a keeper like him.”
Here’s the ironic thing about excellent keepers: they only really show their ability when the defense ahead of them fails. Hugo has seemingly put in a series of good — but not exceptional — performances in the Premier League lately. In fact, we at Carty Free have even been a little critical of him, especially when it comes to his distribution from the back.
And that’s because, for the most part, Hugo hasn’t been pressed into action all that much. That’s down to Spurs’ defense, which is the best in the Premier League. World-class goalkeepers look strangely pedestrian when their defense doesn’t allow many shots to get through.
Today in Germany against Bayer Leverkusen, Spurs were blitzed for the better part of 45 minutes, and Hugo showed exactly why he’s considered one of the best keepers in the world right now. Most keepers can’t keep a shot like Chicharito’s from crossing the line. But Hugo can, and did, and more, negating a number of very impressive attempts from Bayer. That’s the kind of thing that Hugo’s capable of, and why it’s so important that Tottenham have him, even if they don’t need him to pull a rabbit out of his hat every match.
Spurs are still second in Champions League Group E, one point behind Monaco, with three more matches to play. The good news is that this match against Bayer was probably the most difficult of any Spurs will face in the group stages. They play the return match against Bayer at Wembley Stadium on November 2.