Mauricio Pochettino has no concerns about Hugo Lloris’ frame of mind for Sunday’s derby against West Ham after the Tottenham captain told his head coach: “I want to play.”
Lloris captained France against England during a moving occasion at Wembley on Tuesday, which came just four days after last week’s terror attacks in Paris.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said he will check whether his French players feel able to play this weekend, expressing particular doubt about Laurent Koscielny, whom he thought was unrecognisable during the friendly against England.
Lloris is the only Frenchman in Tottenham’s first-team squad but Pochettino insists his goalkeeper is ready for the match at White Hart Lane.
“I didn’t need to ask because when he saw me, he said ‘I want to play’,” Pochettino said.
“It was very difficult for him and for all of the French players and the English players too. They were here training on Monday in the morning and you could feel that they were very sad to play.”
Pochettino added: “For Hugo it was a very tough two weeks. When you are captain it is a big responsibility.
“But he is strong, has a good mind with an unbelievable character. He’s ready to play Sunday and wants to play for the people.”
Pochettino played for Paris St Germain between 2001 and 2003, making 70 appearances for the club, and he also lived in the city for three years.
A close friend of the Argentinian’s was near the Stade de France on the night of the attacks but escaped unharmed.
“Yes I had a friend who was very near to the Stade de France. He was close but he was OK,” Pochettino said.
“It’s not only difficult because I lived in Paris. If at some time you were a tourist in Paris, you translate your mind into the moment that happened with the people.
“I think all humans feel the same, the same pain and the same feelings.”
As well as Lloris, Spurs had a large English contingent at Wembley including Harry Kane, Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Kyle Walker and Ryan Mason.
Pochettino also attended the match as a guest of Roy Hodgson’s and revealed his decision to go was based on providing support for his players.
“We spoke between ourselves that if England play against France, we need to be at the stadium to give support and solidarity,” Pochettino said.
“Our support is very important, and after for the players and the teams. It’s important to show that we are not scared.”
Pochettino added: “It is not difficult (to support) because our relationship with the players is very close. Sometimes you just need a hug.
“We are human and sometimes you don’t need words, you only need to touch the people.
“You know you have to be sensitive, all people are different and need different things. Some players you need to spend time with and speak about things.
“Others need one minute, 10 minutes, one hour – it is how you feel and the empathy you feel with different people.”
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