Claude Puel says Hugo Lloris is Tottenham’s most important player – and the Southampton manager is well placed to know.
The French goalkeeper last week became the latest star to sign a new contract at Spurs, committing himself to the club until 2022.
Puel signed Lloris while he was boss of Ligue 1 side Lyon and helped mould him into the ‘sweeper keeper’ which Spurs snapped up four years ago.
He also made Lloris his captain, a position the 29-year-old now holds at White Hart Lane.
But on Wednesday the Saints boss has to find a way past his former protege when Tottenham head to St Mary’s.
“He’s an important player for Tottenham because he is clinical every time, he will make saves in every game,” said Puel.
“The most important player at Tottenham, he has a good level, good quality, character, and he’s a good captain.
“He was my player at Lyon and I gave him the role of captain, He was a young player but always an important player. It was important for Tottenham to keep him with a new contract.
“I made him captain because he sets an example, inside and outside the ground. He gives good words, good sentences about the game. He always recognises the situation. It’s a good thing for a trainer to have a player like him.
“Before Lyon he played at Nice, and when he came to Lyon at one point he made progress with the ball.
“He worked with the long ball and short passes and on good control also. At the beginning of his career it was not his first quality but now a goalkeeper with good feet is important for that style of play.”
Wednesday’s clash will also see Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino come up against some familiar faces as he returns to the club he managed until moving to north London in 2014.
Pochettino got a hostile reception when he first returned to St Mary’s with Spurs but Puel wants the fans to concentrate on getting behind the home side.
“I think it’s important our fans keep all of their support for their players and the team, to give us a strong spirit to try to make a good result,” he added.
“It’s an important game for us. I wish Pochettino a good comeback with good support, but I wish for a good result for us.”