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Hugo Lloris says Spurs must secure top-four spot before chasing Chelsea


Hugo Lloris knows there is still a significant gap between Chelsea and Tottenham

Hugo Lloris knows there is still a significant gap between Chelsea and Tottenham

Hugo Lloris knows there is still a significant gap between Chelsea and Tottenham

Confidence may have grown among Tottenham fans that they can catch Chelsea after this weekend, but captain Hugo Lloris insists the primary focus is still on ensuring Spurs secure a top-four finish.

Antonio Conte's Blues seemed to be strolling to the title as the Premier League entered its penultimate month only to stumble with a shock home loss to Crystal Palace that trimmed their lead to seven points and heartened the chasing pack.

It is one year on from Harry Kane's Instagram photo of prowling lions, posted after Leicester dropped points to West Ham, that came back to bite him when the Foxes won the title and Jamie Vardy responded with a picture from The Lion King of Mufasa falling off a cliff.

Imagery of hungry predators could be revived as a metaphor for Spurs' pursuit of this year's pace-setters, yet goalkeeper Lloris' chief concern is that his side are not the ones hunted down in the battle for Champions League qualification.

Nine points currently separate Tottenham and fifth-placed Manchester United, though both they and Arsenal in sixth have a game in hand over Mauricio Pochettino's team, and it is those margins, rather than the one to Chelsea, that was at the forefront of Lloris' mind following the 2-0 win at Burnley.

"Honestly, it doesn't change my mind or the minds of my team-mates," the Frenchman said of the title race.

"We're still focused on ourselves. We need to carry on because it's very tight in the league behind us. Anything can happen so it's important to stay involved, to stay together and keep fighting until the end because we want to finish as high as possible in this league and be back in the Champions League.

"We don't talk about the title because even seven points is a big gap at this stage of the season.

"I prefer to look backwards and to look at what is happening behind us because this is the final race. It's a key moment of the season."

The merits of such social-media snaps were not the only thing gleaned from last year when a young Spurs squad mustered their first title bid.

At Turf Moor on Saturday they were without top scorer Kane and lost Vincent Wanyama and Harry Winks to first-half injuries, but still produced an accomplished display after the interval to become the first visiting top-flight side to win at Burnley since November.

"We showed great maturity in our performance in the second half because we stayed calm, even with the first-half incidents," Lloris added.

"We kept playing. It was not a great team performance, but it was very serious, very concentrated.

"We were very applied at the back and togetherness is the key in our team because we know we have the talent up front to score."

Like Lloris, Burnley are also looking over their shoulder after a seventh league game without a win left them only five points above the bottom three.

"As the season goes on and things adjust due to results people soon forget that everyone gave us no chance of even being in the division, let alone anything else and now we're doing what we're doing," said manager Sean Dyche.

"We haven't lost sight of the realities, we know it's a tough challenge and it still will be."