In Depth

Lloris can't save sloppy Spurs from Champions League exit

Tottenham's challenge of competing in Premier League and Europe proves too much as they lose to Monaco

Monaco 2 Spurs 1

Goalie Hugo Lloris did his best but not even his heroics were enough to keep Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League, as a 2-1 defeat at Monaco left Mauricio Pochettino's men fighting for the consolation of a place in the Europa League.

Monaco had the measure of Spurs on the flanks and took the lead in the second half through a header from Djibril Sidibe. 

Tottenham equalised from the spot against the run of play, but immediately coughed up another goal as Thomas Lemar restored Monaco's lead within a minute of the second half.

After three defeats in five games, Spurs are now third in Group E and cannot overhaul Bayer Leverkusen in second. Monaco sit at the top. 

Their final group game, against CSKA Moscow at Wembley in a fortnight, will be a third-place play-off.

If they can avoid defeat, Spurs will live to fight again in Europe, but only in the second tier competition.

"Tottenham were totally outplayed by Monaco and might have been beaten long before three goals in five mad second-half minutes decided the contest", says The Times.

Striker Harry Kane, who scored from the penalty spot after Dele Alli was fouled, blamed "schoolboy" defending, but the problem runs deeper than individual errors.

"Pochettino's line-up reflected the difficult balancing act between preserving Spurs' European ambitions and prioritising their Premier League quest," says the Times, which adds the manager could have been distracted by the challenge of playing Chelsea this weekend.

While Kane and Alli were in the line-up, "by starting with Kyle Walker and Jan Vertonghen on the bench with one eye on Stamford Bridge, [Pochettino] left Tottenham's defence hopelessly exposed in the first-half", says the Daily Telegraph

"What is the point of prioritising the Premier League to qualify for the Champions League, barely shake a leg when you get there and end up having to play on Thursday nights in the Europa League?" 

What's more, the paper adds, "it was almost indecently obvious that Hugo Lloris, Tottenham's captain, is the one bona fide world-class player in their squad.

"Three times he saved them: Radamel Falcao's scuffed penalty was straightforward enough but the acrobatic leap to tip over Kamil Glik's header and the agile dive to force Falcao's mighty close-range drive wide confirmed his mastery of angles and the extraordinary speed of his reflexes."

Spurs's entire campaign has "been characterised by errors at both ends of the field and by a lack of ruthlessness; of streetwise edge," says The Guardian. And Pochettino has admitted "that changes on all levels, including personnel, would be needed to move them forward".

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