Mauricio Pochettino says Hugo Lloris will retain the club captaincy at Tottenham but warned the French World Cup winner he had been lucky to escape his drink-driving escapades with only a criminal conviction and a hefty fine.
Goalkeeper Lloris, 31, was fined £50,000 and banned from driving for 20 months on Wednesday after being convicted of drink-driving in his £140,000 Porsche.
In court on Wednesday, embarrassing details emerged as it was revealed how Lloris, while driving at only 15mph in a 30mph zone, dodged red lights and veered ‘towards parked vehicles’ before being stopped by police in the early hours of Friday, August 24.
A breathalyser test on the scene found Lloris to have been over twice the drink drive limit. There was vomit inside the car and Lloris needed to be helped from the vehicle.
Yet Lloris, who is out of Saturday’s clash at home against Liverpool and will miss several weeks with a thigh strain, remains the Tottenham captain. The club have already fined the Frenchman two weeks wages, estimated to be worth £300,000. Tottenham will also be without Dele Alli after he picked up a hamstring injury on international duty.
Manager Pochettino said:
‘I think of course he is the first to regret about everything. All that happened (in court) is not good and he does not feel great. He said he was guilty and responsible. The most important is that everyone can make a mistake and he is suffering a punishment and also a feeling that society translates to him.
‘He is punishing himself. We are not God and can not judge people. We can all make a mistake. It is a massive lesson for everyone. He said “Gaffer, I made a mistake. Now I need to pay like a man”. Like a man that he is, he is going to accept everything.’
After initially being charged at the end of August, Pochettino stood by his goalkeeper and allowed him to wear the captain’s armband in the 3-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford.
When asked whether Lloris had offered to give up the club captaincy, Pochettino said: ‘He apologised to everyone. The staff, the club, the fans, us, and he said “Any decision that you take gaffer, or the club, I think is fair”.
‘He already knew in the moment that it was a big mistake. Of course all the people can make a mistake. Of course he is lucky there was no consequence. That is important. And of course now it is a massive lesson for him, a life lesson. Because he is a clever, he learns and now he is going to move on.’
For Pochettino, it is the latest in a series of complications at the beginning of this campaign.
To accompany his captain’s drink driving, Tottenham’s financial commitment to building their new stadium culminating in the manager being unable to buy a single player in the transfer market and the club’s proposed move-in date to the new White Hart Lane remains uncertain, with a Carabao Cup fixture against Watford now having to be played at MK Dons’ ground.
A report emerged on Thursday suggesting Tottenham may not move in to their new stadium until March due to an issue with the ground’s sprinkler system.
‘I am learning a lot!’ Pochettino joked. ‘You learn that today football is not only what happens on the pitch, it’s many things that happen around and we need to be ready to deal with all these situations that in the end affect the result on the pitch.
‘And of course it’s more complicated today to be a manager than 20 or 30 years ago.’
Pochettino is also frustrated by the absence of Alli for both the visit of Liverpool and then the trip to Inter Milan on Tuesday evening as the club launch their Champions League campaign.
Alli suffered a hamstring injury against Spain in the first-half and Tottenham are privately frustrated that the midfielder then completed the game. The club also felt he played while carrying an injury at times during the World Cup this summer.
- Pochettino said: ‘Alli is a bit unlucky, he suffered an injury after 20 minutes against Spain. We are disappointed because we’re going to miss him for this game and possibly Inter Milan but it is not a big issue.’
Pochettino also insists he has no concerns about the form of Harry Kane, who has made a sluggish start to the season after his World Cup exertions.
The coach added: ‘We have confidence and trust in him. There is no doubt he is one of the best in England and Europe. It is only a matter of time before he shows his real quality. I am not disappointed with him.
‘The circumstances of the summer were different and it takes time for a player to get his best. As he is such a big player and everyone expects something from every action, so his expectations are different.’