Jose Mourinho backs under-fire Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris and insists he IS still No1 after mistakes
JOSE MOURINHO has backed his under-fire Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris, insisting: He is still my No1.
The Spurs skipper and stopper has been slammed for making costly mistakes in recent weeks.
It has even been claimed the North Londoners will look to sell the France captain in the summer.
But Mourinho is standing by his star and, ahead of their Europa League last 32 first leg at Austrians’ Wolfsberger tomorrow, the Tottenham manager said: “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. 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 yesterday, but in the matches before he's made big mistakes.
"But he is one of the top five goalkeepers in the world.
“Hugo is the same, he is an amazing, amazing goalkeeper that is performing super consistently.
“Since he recovered from his elbow fracture, since my time here, he is playing so, so well.
"If he had responsibility in one or another goal we conceded recently, he's still the same goalkeeper.
“He's my No1 choice and he has all my trust and my confidence.”
Joe Hart has started seven of Tottenham’s 10 Europa League ties this season, but looks likely to be on the bench again tomorrow.
Mourinho added: “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 a goalkeeper I totally trust, too.”
Left-back Sergio Reguilon is not fit enough to return from his muscle injury and will not travel.
Tottenham are eighth in the Premier League table, six points below fourth-placed Chelsea but with a game in hand.
But Mouirnho denies the Europa League is now his club’s best chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
He said: “It's difficult in any case but it's possible in both cases.
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"The fourth position in the Premier League is of course very difficult but it is not mathematically impossible.
“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 for it.
“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 still possible and we chased it until the last game, which is the same thing we're going to do now.
“In the Europa League there are an incredible number of matches and we are in the tenth and not even in the last 16.
"It’s still the last 32, so it’s a long, long competition with 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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