Hugo Lloris: Tottenham Won't 'Challenge for the Champions League Every Season'

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJune 2, 2019

MADRID, SPAIN - JUNE 01 : Hugo Lloris of Tottenham Hotspur during the UEFA Champions League Final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on June 1, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur shouldn't count on making a quick return to the UEFA Champions League final, according to goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

The French keeper spoke after Spurs were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool in Madrid on Saturday, per Sky Sports, and he said he doesn't believe "Tottenham is the type of club to challenge for the Champions League every season. We have to be honest about this statement."

It's a bleak summation of Spurs' standing but not a totally unrealistic one given the constraints likely to impact the north London club in the coming years. Tottenham will be incurring the cost of the new stadium the club moved into during this season.

Lloris thinks Spurs defied expectations simply by reaching the Champions League final.
Lloris thinks Spurs defied expectations simply by reaching the Champions League final.TF-Images/Getty Images

A new home is a sign of the Lilywhites' intent to compete at the highest level, according to Lloris:

"But one thing is sure, we are ambitious. We try to reduce the gap with the best teams in Europe step by step. In three years we have shown a lot of improvement, development in the right direction.

"Probably with the new stadium it will bring fresh air and confidence to the team, towards the club and towards the fans. There are a lot of things to learn from this defeat and the whole Champions League campaign for the future."

Confidence is one thing, but the financial realities of trying to compete with restricted resources against big-spending rivals will impact Tottenham's ambitions.

Arsene Wenger knows a thing or two about this difficult balancing act. He tried to juggle debt payments with the demand to keep pace with Europe's richest when Spurs' north London rivals Arsenal moved to the Emirates Stadium in 2006.

Wenger worked as a pundit for beIN Sports (h/t Football.London's James Benge) during the final, and he indicated Tottenham will struggle to replicate this season's achievement:

James Benge @jamesbenge

Wenger: When you lose a game like Tottenham did today, they have less chances to come back to a final than Liverpool do. Liverpool has won this trophy six times, Tottenham made a miracle to get there.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has already experienced this reality after not signing a single player during the last two transfer windows. Repeating this lack of activity wouldn't be a wise ploy this summer, not after Pochettino saw his team fail to sparkle in the Spanish capital.

Wenger offered a damaging assessment of Tottenham's mentality:

Goal @goal

Was it a lack of belief that cost Tottenham? 😕 https://t.co/JBIREjchFK

Spurs never seemed right during the final with Harry Kane starting ahead of Lucas Moura. Star striker Kane had been out since April with an ankle ligaments injury, while Moura was fresh from netting a hat-trick to beat Ajax in the last four.

Kane started on the fringes of the game and stayed there:

Statman Dave @StatmanDave

Harry Kane completed 1 pass in the first 20 minutes of the game. Out of the game... 🙅‍♂️ #UCLfinal https://t.co/o1m8psGgwg

Statman Dave @StatmanDave

Harry Kane’s game by numbers vs. Liverpool: 9 passes completed 1 shot 0 chances created in the box Missing on the big stage. #uclfinal https://t.co/IJG1AXOvCb

Several more of Tottenham's big names failed to deliver, with forward Heung-Min Son and playmakers Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli also struggling to influence the game.

Faltering on the big stage offered a reminder of the vulnerability Spurs consistently showed, even en route to the final:

Duncan Alexander @oilysailor

Spurs lost five Champions League games this season, only AEK Athens lost more.

This number alone offers concrete proof Tottenham need to add talent this summer. Along with retaining key players such as Kane, Eriksen and centre-back Toby Alderweireld, new signings will help this club remain a credible Champions League contender.

While Lloris is right to hint Spurs have played above historic expectations in recent seasons, Tottenham are still preparing for a fourth consecutive season in the Champions League. Consistent participation, along with an appearance in a final, has raised the bar for success at Tottenham.

It's now up to Lloris and Co. to prove they can meet it.