LONDON -- Hugo Lloris has praised Mauricio Pochettino for saving his Tottenham career ahead of the Champions League final against Liverpool on Saturday.
The Tottenham goalkeeper, 32, is now in his seventh season at the club after joining from Lyon in 2012 for €10 million, including €5m in bonuses. However, things could have been very different had Pochettino not replaced Tim Sherwood on the bench in 2014.
"It is quite simple," Lloris told ESPN FC in an exclusive interview. "At that time, after two years at the club, I didn't really like the way things had turned for me here. I put a lot of questions in my mind. Then I met [Pochettino]."
After two tough seasons under Andre Villas-Boas first and then Sherwood, Lloris could have left the club. However, Pochettino was brought in from Southampton and convinced the former Lyon captain to stay.
"As soon as I met him, I knew straight away that he was the right man," Lloris added. "He is the type of person that you want to work for, that you want to fight for. It is difficult to describe the feeling when you meet someone and that you know he will have a big impact on your career. It is his approach of football, his ideas of football, the man who he is, how he develops relationships and ours is stronger than ever now."
Lloris credits Pochettino and his technical staff for improving his play, and was rewarded by being named the club's captain in August 2015.
"There is no place for random in football. You get what you deserve. In the last five seasons, we have made so much effort to help the club improve, to go in the right way. Credit goes to the gaffer and his coaching staff for it. They brought the right energy and the right philosophy into the club," Lloris said. "We have all worked so much to be at this level. I can remember a few moments when Leicester won the title in 2016 and we were in the race for the title that year. You could see that things didn't go our way.
"This season in the Champions League, it is the opposite. It doesn't mean that we are going to win but all those things happened because we deserved it. Now, it is the biggest chance of our career to make history."
Lloris can become only the second goalkeeper in history to win the World Cup and the Champions League in back-to-back seasons, a feat accomplished by Germany and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sepp Maier in 1974 and 1975. He now hopes to lead Spurs to a title in their first ever appearance in the final of Europe's premier club competition.
"We had three weeks to prepare for just one game, we are not used to that," Lloris said. "We have used this time to refresh our minds, our bodies, to prepare our game plan and be ready to put all our chances on our side to win this final. Whoever is the opponent, it doesn't matter. The most important is to be at the level of a Champions League final. Then, we will play the game to win. It is a big moment for the club and for the players and we just want to put a stamp on the history of the club."
Lloris acknowledges that Liverpool's experience of playing a Champions League final last season against Real Madrid (a 3-1 loss) is an advantage but he is ready for the fight in what will be his 298th game across all competitions for Spurs.
"I think Liverpool can use [last season's final] as an experience," he said. "It is not the case for us. In both teams, there is plenty of quality and talent. The semifinals were amazing for them and for us. Both teams deserve to be at that level in the competition. Now, we all know, the final is about emotion, desire, pain ...we have to give our maximum."