Tottenham's Champions League hopes hit by Hugo Lloris injury
Tottenham Hotspur are set to be without captain Hugo Lloris for at least six weeks after the goalkeeper suffered a knee injury in the victory over Manchester City.
Initial gloomy predictions suggested that Lloris could even miss the rest of the season, but Tottenham are hoping the Frenchman will be able to return in six to eight weeks.
That still represents a significant blow for Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte and the club’s hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
Lloris required treatment late in the game against City, which Spurs won 1-0, but scans have since confirmed he suffered damage to the ligaments in his knee and will now need a period of recovery.
Tottenham are hoping that Lloris will be able to recover without the need for surgery, but he will continue to be checked.
Lloris is set to miss both legs of Tottenham’s last-16 Champions League tie against AC Milan as well as the FA Cup trip to Sheffield United and Premier League games against Leicester City, West Ham United, Chelsea, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Nottingham Forest and Southampton before the international break.
The victory over City moved Spurs just a point behind fourth-placed Newcastle United with their top four hopes very much alive.
Lloris has faced criticism following a number of errors this season, particularly after the World Cup, but he kept back-to-back clean sheets in league victories over City and Fulham which have reinvigorated Tottenham’s season.
Fraser Forster will deputise for Lloris, having made four appearances for Tottenham so far this season after joining the club in the summer on a free transfer from Celtic.
Across his four games, Forster has conceded four goals - two of which came in the League draw with Brentford on Boxing Day, which is his only Premier League appearance for Spurs to date. Either Brandon Austin or Alfie Whiteman will have to step up to the substitutes’ bench.
It is yet to be decided whether or not Conte will return to the dug-out to take charge of Spurs for Saturday’s trip to Leicester. Conte is recovering well from surgery to remove his gallbladder that saw him miss the victory over City.
Doctors advised the Italian to take it easy for up to a fortnight after his operation and Conte will take a decision on whether or not he will travel to Leicester in the next 48 hours.