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Lloris stakes claim for Spurs No. 1 jersey

ESPN staff
November 23, 2012 « Vitali Klitschko coy on future | Chartbeat test »

Hugo Lloris has earned the praise of Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas after a string of fine saves salvaged Spurs a 0-0 draw against Lazio on Thursday.

Lloris, 25, has been Brad Friedel's understudy in the Premier League this season, but has been given the chance to impress in Tottenham's cup fixtures.

The Frenchman was a clear standout for Spurs in Italy, saving two one-on-one attempts from Libor Kozak and getting a fingertip to Cristian Ledesma's curling shot in the first half to keep his side's qualification hopes alive.

On a night with few positives for Tottenham amidst allegations of anti-Semitic chanting from the home side, Villas-Boas commended Lloris for efforts.

"He deserves our respect," Villas-Boas said. "In situations where we could have suffered, he was there for us. It was an extremely good performance, for sure."

Tottenham travel to Greece on the final matchday and require at least a point against Panathinaikos to progress to the round of 32.

Villas-Boas conceded that Spurs were put under pressure for much of the second half and were fortunate not to go behind, but he believes there were positive signs.

"We had an extremely good 20 minutes at the beginning where we looked in control of possession and created the chance to go 1-0 up," he said. "Lazio gained momentum with their opportunities and they put us on the back foot, that's the reality.

"We came to the second half and had a good 10, 15 minutes again, but Lazio's first chance put us on the back foot again and we struggled.

"I see it as a mirror of the game at White Hart Lane [which was also a 0-0 draw], but going Lazio's way this time, not ours. I can only compliment the lads for their efforts. We played 70 minutes against Arsenal with 10 men being brave, being bold and then came here and played a good intensive game.

"We didn't have the clear-cut chances like we had in previous games, but the lads did well in their effort. The spirit is there and passion is there. We want to get things back on track in terms of winning ways and we now have the opportunity to do that against West Ham on Sunday."

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