Tottenham Hotspur’s club captain and starting goalkeeper may have already played his last match in a Spurs shirt. Interim head coach Ryan Mason, speaking in a press conference ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League match against Crystal Palace, confirmed that Lloris will miss the remainder of the season with a unspecified muscle injury. Mason also confirmed Ryan Sessegnon will also be out for the season, but said Emerson Royal could hopefully return soon.
“Hugo’s out for the season. We had the results back. Obviously disappointing, but we kind of feared that initially. We did some more tests and he won’t play for us again this season.
“I can’t speak about next season but what I can say is that [Lloris] has a very important role for us until the end of the season. We need him. We need him to be part of the group and I’m sure he will be.
“Ryan [Sessegnon] had a significant injury, he’s been out for a long time so Ryan won’t feature again this season. Emerson I think it is a day to day check on how he is and how he’s coping. Hopefully Emerson can help us between now and end of the season.”
Hugo, 36, has spent a decade at the club and is about to enter into the final year of his contract, which expires in 2024. Spurs have already confirmed that finding a long term replacement for Hugo is among their top priorities in this summer’s transfer window. He’s also had a rather disastrous year, between injuries and a number of error-prone perfomances this season. there’s a more than decent chance that Lloris could be sold or decide to move on at the end of this current campaign.
That also means that we may have already seen Hugo’s last match in a Spurs shirt, and unfortunately it’s the 6-1 loss to Newcastle where Hugo picked up his injury and was subbed off at halftime. It would be a sad end to what has been an outstanding Tottenham career — regardless of how his tenure ended, Lloris should be considered one of, if not the, greatest keeper in Spurs history.
Mason said that the work to unify the club ahead of the end of the season continues.
“That’s a process. It takes time. What we can see from the first two performances is that we’ve got a group working hard for each other. Sometimes you don’t get results you deserve but inside these walls we feel together and we’ll need to do that until the end of the season but also in years to come. It’s important for any football club to be together and create that feeling where everyone is aligned: the fans, the players, the group. That’s key to being successful.
“It was a difficult moment to come in. I said at the time we didn’t have a great deal of time to change much and we don’t have a great deal of time to be honest. What you can do is get inside the players and try to influence that. In the United game to go 2-0 down in the circumstances and come back is a positive, and we felt that, and then if we take away the disastrous 15 minutes at Anfield, I thought we were outstanding. So there’s something we can take from that. But ultimately you have to win games, it’s a results business and we’re keen to do that.”
Mason also said he was undecided on his tactics for Roy Hodgson’s Palace, or whether he would shift from a back three to a back four for this match.
“I am not sure. We are training this afternoon so we have got some decisions to make. Ultimately for us it is a collective to try to keep clean sheets and win games of football. Systems and formations, yeah they can help and can change some things but the desire of the 11 players on the pitch to have a common goal and work together is probably the most important thing.
“I don’t think I’m being unreasonable here but these type of things stay inside the training ground. There’s tactical elements that I think are important to keep between us. I think it’s important for any management team or coach to have time to work and change some things. Obviously we’ve had three or four training days this week to create a different approach, but ultimately the most important thing is to win this game of football. We feel that, we know that and that’s our main focus.”
Mason also addressed the link between Tottenham’s academy in the wake of the U18 winning the U18 Premier League Cup yesterday, the second piece of silverware the academy has won this season. There has been a perception that the pathway between the academy and the first team has deteriorated over the past few years, something that has caused players to consider moving on to other opportunities, including potentially Romaine Mundle. Mason stressed the situation is more complicated.
“First of all you have to be good enough. That’s a challenge to any of our academy players. It is a big step up to the first team and we want them to aspire to that. We need academy players. We see it now, we’ve got Harry Kane, we’ve got Skippy, we’ve got others in the squad that are helping. I understand and the club certainly understand the value in that.
“It’s not as easy as just giving them the opportunity. We are hopeful and I am hopeful that if we work in the way that we want to, and if we have consistency in that, then maybe we will start to see that a little bit more.
“I made my Premier League debut at 23 and my dream and aspiration was to play for Tottenham Hotspur. That never wavered. I never thought about leaving. The most important thing for our academy players is to feel like they’re part of the club and they want to be here. If they want to be here then great we can work with them, improve them and hopefully help them have careers in the game. Ultimately though if players don’t want to be at the club, that’s their decision.”
Spurs kick off against Palace at 10:00 a.m. ET / 3:00 p.m. BST tomorrow (Coronation Day!) at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.