It is time to stop pretending as Tottenham captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris challenged the Premier League club to prove they are among the elite.
Tottenham were contending for the title last season before they dropped out of contention completely, even allowing London rivals Arsenal to leapfrog them into second position.
Finishing third was still enough for Tottenham to qualify for the Champions League, which has proved difficult for Lloris and Co. this term, having lost two of their four matches to sit third in Group E following Wednesday’s loss to Bayer Leverkusen.
And as Tottenham prepare for Sunday’s trip to Arsenal, Lloris called on his team-mates to show they belong in the upper-tier of English and European football.
“You cannot pretend to be a challenger, you cannot pretend to be a big club in Europe if you’re not ready to compete,” Lloris said. “We know it is just not good enough.
“You know you can win in football but the most important thing is to play the right way.
“There will be a lot of expectation. It’s always important to the players and the fans.
“I hope we’re going to bounce back and put a great performance. If we win or lose we cannot leave the pitch with the same feeling we had on Wednesday.”
Tottenham head to the Emirates Stadium, having never finished above Arsenal since 1995.
It is a source of pain and frustration, particularly after last season having crumbled on the last day of the campaign to gift Arsenal the runners-up position, but Lloris said the players are not solely focused on their North London rivals.
“You cannot fight against only one club,” the Frenchman said. “I can understand the importance for the fans.
“But we are players and just try to do our job as well as possible. It’s a rival but it’s not only Arsenal, there are a lot of great teams. We just want to put the club as high as possible. For sure we were not expecting that last season, though.”