Xenia Sports – London
Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho called Hugo Lloris the best goalkeeper in the Premier League despite his role in Crystal Palace’s goal in a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park.
Lloris was unable to hold Eberechi Eze’s free-kick, which allowed Jeffrey Schlupp to ram home an 81st-minute equalizer to cancel out Harry Kane’s first-half opener.
It was a story of two goalkeepers as Vicente Guaita then made two stunning saves to make amends for his first-half error and deny Spurs a winner as Mourinho’s title challengers dropped two points.
Spurs had to defend a barrage of second-half pressure, so Schlupp’s equalizer was well deserved, but Lloris was exonerated by Mourinho.
“My goalkeeper is the best goalkeeper in the Premier League so I would never be critical of the best goalkeeper in the Premier League, period,” Mourinho said.
“If I have to blame anybody I have to blame ourselves, the team. The ones that win, the ones that draw, and the ones that lose.
“Some guys have the philosophy of they lost, we drew and I won but that’s not us.
“Us is everything is about us. At half-time, I told the players exactly the opposite that we did in the second half, but if they didn’t it was because they couldn’t do it.
“It was because they were not able to do it. I give credit to Palace for that. I always say that even if you want to press high, if the ball is in the air you cannot press. There is nothing to press.
“So they put the ball in the air, they started putting the ball in the box and creating lateral free-kicks and corners and rebounds, so the goal could arrive as it did.
“So we have to blame ourselves for not being able to do what we did in the first half.
“In the last period of the game a reaction, of course, a reaction, a very good reaction, and then the goalkeeper made a couple of amazing saves and that’s it.”
Spurs looked on course for another win as Kane and Son Heung-min combined for a 13th time this season, with the South Korean teeing up the England captain, who sent a swerving shot through Guaita.
But Mourinho’s side retreated after that and eventually succumbed to Palace pressure when Schlupp pounced on Lloris’ mishandling.
Only then Spurs came to life as Guaita denied Kane with a smart stop before an acrobatic leap kept out Eric Dier’s injury-time free-kick.
“We can look at it in two different perspectives, we have more points than three hours ago, so we add a point, but at the same time you play to win three points, so if you get one, you lose two,” Mourinho said.
“If I look to the game I would say the first half where the feeling is we have to win it, so we lost the points, but then comes the 30 minutes in the second half where they deserve to equalize so you accept, because a point is fair, but then in the last 10 minutes you should win it so you get the feeling you have dropped two.”
Palace boss Roy Hodgson said his side were worthy of a point for their second-half display.
“I thought our second-half performance was of top-drawer quality and the equalizer was well deserved after a sustained spell,” he said.
“In the last five minutes or so Vicente showed his true qualities. He made two magnificent saves. The goalkeeper is a very important part of every team and we are fortunate we have a very good one.
“I thought 1-0 at half-time was harsh on us but with the second-half performance if it had stayed like that we would have gone home feeling sorry for ourselves.
“Today we can go home proud of our performance. It is an important point because when you play a team like Tottenham you know that any point you take will be useful going forward.”