Lloris won't drop his guard

Hugo Lloris (in red) led France against England on Tuesday and put up a solid performance. He is determined to play the West Ham match.
Hugo Lloris (in red) led France against England on Tuesday and put up a solid performance. He is determined to play the West Ham match.PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

Pochettino says his 'keeper will be fully focused on derby despite Paris attacks

LONDON • France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris will lead Tottenham Hotspur against West Ham United in today's Premier League London derby at White Hart Lane.

Mauricio Pochettino is adamant that his captain has the fortitude to continue despite the impact of the Paris atrocities. Like many French people, Lloris has suffered since the Nov 13 terrorist attacks.

However, it fell to him, as the captain, to lead France in Tuesday's emotionally turbulent fixture against England at Wembley.

Though France lost 0-2, Lloris put up a stout display.

"I didn't need to ask Hugo if he wanted to play against West Ham because when he saw me, he said, ' I want to play'," Tottenham's manager said. "It's been very tough for him but he is strong.

"He is a bright guy with unbelievable personality and character.

"He wants to play because it's the way to pay tribute to the people.

"And to show the respect."

Pochettino will also be heartened that Son Heung Min is set to make his first club start since injuring his foot in September.

The South Korean attacking midfielder scored twice for his country during the international break.

He has endeared himself to Tottenham's fans since joining the club in the close season from Germany's Bayer Leverkusen - especially after scoring three goals in his first three games.

His return could not come at a better time for Pochettino, who will be without the services of midfielders Erik Lamela (suspension) and Nabil Bentaleb.

The latter was lucky to escape without suffering a serious ankle injury following a horrific challenge while on international duty for Algeria against Tanzania on Tuesday.

Tottenham (fifth) and West Ham (sixth) are level on points, with Pochettino's side ahead only on goal difference.

West Ham, with one point from their last two Premier League ties, have won all three London derbies played this season, beating Arsenal, Crystal Palace and Chelsea.

They also have the second-best away record in the league, behind Arsenal, accumulating 13 points from a possible 18.

But they will meet a Tottenham side who have not lost a league game since their opening-day defeat at Manchester United.

West Ham will also be missing influential midfielder Dimitri Payet, who is out for three months with an ankle injury.

But manager Slaven Bilic tried to play down the Frenchman's absence. "We're not only Payet," he said. "We have a lot of quality players and those who play will have to step up and do more for us."

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS


TOTTENHAM V WEST HAM

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 22, 2015, with the headline 'LLORIS WON'T DROP HIS GUARD'. Print Edition | Subscribe