Hugo Lloris: Mauricio Pochettino main reason I am still at Tottenham
LONDON -- Hugo Lloris has told ESPN FC that his relationship with manager Mauricio Pochettino comes once in a lifetime and that it is the main reason he is still at Tottenham Hotspur.
The Tottenham and France captain has signed two long-term contracts since Pochettino's appointment in May 2014, the latest a three-year extension until 2022 in December.
Lloris, 30, is still yet to win a league title in his career, and he admits that Pochettino, whom he has described as the best manager in the world, has kept him from joining one of Europe's elite clubs.
"The main reason is Mauricio Pochettino. That's the truth and I cannot hide that," Lloris told ESPN FC at the club's training base during an event with Kumho Tyres, Spurs' official tyre partner.
The goalkeeper has previously said that his future is "tied" to Pochettino and, asked what that meant, he replied: "It's very clear. It just means I have a lot of respect for the man, a lot of respect for the manager. We have a great connection and when you get something strong like that, it's never easy to find it again in your life or in your career. It's very simple.
"And then, in football, everything is impossible. The only thing that I know is that I enjoy my time at Tottenham and especially under Mauricio Pochettino. I believe that with him the club can reach the level we all want.
"I still remember the first time I spoke to him by phone, just a few days after he signed here as manager. It was very simple. He tried to describe his philosophy of football, the way he wants to play, the way he wants the team to work. And his ambition. He's a winner and he has a lot of ambition, individually.
"He has created something very special inside this building [Hotspur Way] because I can tell you that the club we are at the moment is not the same as it was before he signed. I could talk a lot about him but this is not the right place."
Under Pochettino, Tottenham are challenging for the Premier League title for the second season running and they face league leaders Chelsea in Saturday's FA Cup semifinal at Wembley.
Lloris believes Spurs are on the road to becoming a "big institution" but said this transformation could not happen overnight, and pointed to the club's failure to qualify from the Champions League group stage as an example of their learning curve.
"A winning mentality is already in this team -- we just need some chances and opportunities, and we have a few before the end of the season. When you have a chance, you have to take it," he said.
"It's true that at some other clubs, in England, France, Spain, Italy or Germany, they are used to winning a lot of trophies. It was the case 50 years ago, it was the case 20 years ago and it will be the case in a few years. Because they are big institutions and all the players respect those institutions.
"That's the way to follow, but you cannot arrive one day and say, 'I want to change everything', and then win. You need to take time, build up something strong step-by-step, and you need to live through experiences like last season.
"Even like this season -- in the Champions League it was a failure but we need to go through this kind of moment to improve. It's a process."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.