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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 264) (11.02.19)

NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 264
Submitted by Norman Giller

And the award goes to ..... Hugo Lloris

Watching the BAFTA awards last night, I was fully expecting Hugo Lloris to dive on stage and catch the Best Actor trophy. Let’s face it, earlier in the day he had put on an exceptional leading man performance against a Leicester City team that deserved to go home with a share of the spoils.

It was Hugo’s safe hands, daring diving and – above all – THAT dramatic penalty save from Jamie Vardy that motivated Spurs into lifting the three points that keeps them hot on the heels of Liverpool and Man City in the three-club title race.

Our Spurs Odyssey guru Paul H. Smith records the ups and downs of the neurotic match HERE, but I am just pleased to be giving my main headline to Hugo, who is emerging from a dark personal crisis.

I was disappointed to find many Spurs fans losing faith in him, but he quietly kept believing in himself and never lost the support and encouragement of manager Mauricio Pochettino.

“Hugo remains one of the world’s great goalkeepers,” Mauricio said yesterday after Lloris had broken Leicester hearts. “That was a massive save from the penalty. He is quality, no doubt about it.”

Three points softened Mauricio’s mood, but the victory was still not enough to restrain him from having a rare swipe at the referee. If there had been VAR, as will be the case next season, there is no question that Maguire’s challenge on Sonny would have resulted in a penalty. Instead, Michael Oliver chose to book Sonny for diving, a terrible slur on his sportsmanship and character.

“Unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable” Pochettino kept repeating at his after-match press conference. ‘When you compare the situation with the penalty against us, unbelievable. The problem is I told Michael Oliver the situation of Liverpool in the last minute that should have been a penalty [when Son was brought down by Mane], to maybe be 2-2, maybe 2-1, but it was a clear penalty. It was the same referee but now I don't know how he has measured the situation.

“It is so difficult. I am a person that always accepts the mistake but I think it was so strange the situation today. It was so clear the position with Sonny, the action, but it wasn't clear the position of Maddison when he was on the floor. I think it is unbelievable. I am more relaxed because we won the game, three important points we got, but so disappointed with the situation because everyone wants to talk about different clubs or players but do you think we are a team that is trying to cheat the referee? Come on, we are the most innocent people on the pitch?”

I have quoted Pochettino in full and verbatim because he makes the important point that it was not the first time that referee Oliver had made this sort of misjudgement against Sonny. Just imagine Pochettino’s fury if his mistake had cost Spurs victory.

Let’s hope he is in happier mood after Wednesday’s crucial Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund.

Spurs continue to compete for the two top prizes without their key men Harry Kane and Dele Alli.

Thank goodness, they have the magnificent Hugo Lloris as a last line of defence.

Give that man an Oscar.


Spurs Odyssey Quiz League

Question No 26 in this 2018-19 SOQL season:

Which Suffolk-born player won two international caps, started his career at Carrow Road and from which club did he join Tottenham in 1995?

Please email your answer to me at SOQL26@normangillerbooks.com. Deadline: midnight this Friday. I will respond to all who take part.

This year’s prizes for the champion: A framed Harry Kane autographed picture, two books from my Spurs collection with autographs from Jimmy Greaves, Steve Perryman and Dave Mackay, and (most precious of all) a framed certificate announcing the winner as SOQL champion.

Last week I asked: Who has won five international caps, was sent off four times while playing for Tottenham and which club did he join before returning to Spurs?

This had many of you struggling, but most of the table-topping leaders got there with Younes Kaboul, who rejoined Tottenham – and Harry Redknapp – from Portsmouth. One of his four red cards (against Chelsea) was later rescinded. (Ed:- The referee on that occasion was also Michael Oliver!)

Please keep a check on your scores. I will be trusting you to count your points as I do not have faith in my email server.

Thank you for taking part. See you back here same time, same place next week. Keep the faith. COYS!

The "Giller Index" - listing all Norman's articles for Spurs Odyssey

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