Mourinho uses Liverpool man as yardstick to hail ‘world-class’ Spurs star

Date published: Wednesday 17th February 2021 1:47 - James Marshment

Jose Mourinho Europa League presser

Jose Mourinho has hinted he will select Hugo Lloris in goal for Thursday’s Europa League clash with Wolfsburger after insisting he will always retain his faith in the Tottenham keeper.

Lloris’ role in the side has come under the spotlight in recent weeks amid Tottenham’s slide down the table.

However, ahead of their Europa League round of 32 first leg tie with the Austrian side, Mourinho says he will always back Lloris.

Indeed, the Spurs boss even compared Lloris‘ situation to that at Liverpool with Alisson Becker.

“When a player is a top player, it’s not because of one mistake or two or three,” Mourinho said. “It doesn’t mean he’s not a top player again. For me Alisson is one of the top five goalkeepers in the world. In the last matches, not yesterday, he’s made big mistakes – but he’s in the top five goalkeepers in the world.

“Hugo is the same. He’s been performing super consistently since he recovered from injury. If he was responsible for any of our goals he’s my number one and he has all my trust and confidence.”

There had been speculation that Joe Hart could get the nod for the game, but Mourinho has suggested the former England No 1 should be happy with his amount of minutes this season.

“I’m happy Joe has played already nine matches this season which is more I think than the last two seasons,” Mourinho added.

With the club out of the race for the title and dumped out of the FA Cup, the Europa League takes on extra incentive for Spurs.

That seems even more a factor given some recent speculation over Mourinho’s future.

Indeed, Mourinho insists he will pick his strongest side for the clash at the Worthersee Stadion.

“The team that I’m going to pick is the strongest I can pick for the game,” he said. “Last week we played two games in a very short space and I had players who ran more than 28km and 28km on a Wednesday night at Goodison Park and then Saturday afternoon is crazy, so of course I would like to play with all my first choices but that is not possible. The players that are playing are good players.”

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Mourinho asked about away goals rule

With some sides forced to adandon their home advantage due to Covid 19 restrictions, Mourinho was asked if he felt it fare that the away goals rule still applies in the Europa League.

The Portuguese firebrand, however, insists his thoughts do not count.

“My opinion is not important. The most important thing is the rules,” he said. “They set the rules and we have to respect. I don’t think my opinion is important unless there is an official discussion. For now my opinion means nothing.

“In terms of pressure on this game I don’t feel that. I feel responsibility. It’s about responsbility, motivation and ambition. We spoke with the players already about it and we’ll speak to them again about it tonight.”

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