TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR’S coach Mauricio Pochettino hailed goalkeeper Hugo Lloris’ “brilliant” display to rescue a Champions League away point in their goalless draw at Bayer Leverkusen yesterday.
After a quiet first-half which his side dominated, the Frenchman had a busy second 45 minutes at the BayArena as Leverkusen beefed up their midfield and fired in 16 shots at the Spurs goal.
After Dele Alli, Vincent Janseen and Erik Lamela all went close with first-half chances for Spurs, Pochettino singled out Lloris’ outstanding display to repeatedly deny the Leverkusen attack.
“We were better in the first half, they were better in the second,” said Spurs Argentinian coach.
“Some brilliant saves from our keeper kept us in the game I can only say good things about him, he’s a fantastic goalkeeper, one of the best in the world.
“He showed in every action that he’s one of the best, I think he’s having the best moments of his career.”
Lloris agreed the result was good for Spurs.
“We can be pleased with the point,” said the French goalkeeper.
“The game turned in the second half, Leverkusen pressed high and we struggled a bit. I think the draw is a good result for us.
“In two weeks we’re going to face them again and we need to be ready for this other battle. I think we all want to come back to Wembley.”
Having now drawn their three group games, Leverkusen are third with three points while Spurs stay second behind leaders AS Monaco who drew 1-1 at bottom side CSKA Moscow.
Pochettino was pleased his side has everything to play for when the sides meet again in London on Nov 2.
“It was a strong point, an important one for us, so we need to be happy with that,” he said.
“We’re still in the same position we were before the game, we’re still fighting.
“It’s a very competitive group, it was important to get a point from here, especially as CSKA Moscow and Monaco drew.”
Spurs are now unbeaten in their six away games in all competition, but Pochettino says they must be more clinical in front of goal.
He admitted Spurs struggled in midfield when Leverkusen introduced burly Austrian Julian Baumgartlinger after the break.
“It’s one of the most difficult things to be clinical in front of goal, but the team created lots of chance and dominated the firsthalf,” said Pochettino.
“They changed things around after the break and I think they were better when they strengthened their midfield, so we have to be pleased with the point.
“We need to be more clinical, we have a lot of players who can score, with a bit more luck we would have taken the chances in our last few games.
“It was tough, the priority was to win, but when you analyse Leverkusen they are a good team who played well, so at the end of the day the result is fair.
“We are still fighting for the next round. We have to win our remaining games and believe we can get to the next round.”
Leverkusen were frustrated to finish with another draw, despite an impressive display.
“We had plenty of chances to score and we should have rewarded ourselves with a goal,” said captain Lars Bender.
“There were two very good teams on the pitch tonight, so we need to live with the draw now.” – AFP