(Reuters) – Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino believes the stress caused by Hugo Lloris’ drink-driving charge may have contributed to the thigh injury that has ruled his first-choice goalkeeper out of their last three matches.
France’s World Cup-winning captain was fined 50,000 pounds ($66,280) and banned from driving for 20 months after pleading guilty in court last week to being more than twice the legal drink-driving limit.
Lloris suffered the injury during the 3-0 Premier League victory over Manchester United, three days after he was charged by police in central London.
“I think he was under stress during the game against Manchester United,” Pochettino told reporters. “In that stress, maybe it created that injury.
“The injury now is helping him to take time to think and be a little bit more relaxed, because to compete after what happened I think was a massive stress for him.
“We still do not know (when he will be available). We hope as soon as possible but I think the plan is still next week, if everything goes to plan in training.”
In the absence of club captain Lloris, Spurs have suffered consecutive defeats to Watford, Liverpool and Inter Milan — all of them by a 2-1 margin.
It is the first time Pochettino has overseen three straight losses during his tenure at the club but he remains calm ahead of Saturday’s league trip to Brighton and Hove Albion.
“The only way we can stop that (questioning and criticism) is by winning games, and if we don’t win everyone is going to criticise more than now,” the Argentine added.
“I am so relaxed. In football it sometimes happens, this situation. I am going to give my best until the end.”
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by John O’Brien)