Will you have to take more risks in this game, perhaps gamble more than you normally would?
Mauricio: “It’s a game we must win and we need to find a way. We have in front of us a very good team, we know Monaco well, and now it’s 90 minutes to play. We always want to win every game we play and it’s not about more or less risks, it’s about being clever, we follow our plan and try to win after 90 minutes. That’s our idea, our challenge. To take risks or not take risks, that is the balance in football.”
How do you compare Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim to the top European coaches?
Mauricio: “It’s too difficult to compare, but it’s true Jardim is doing a fantastic job at Monaco. He’s one of the best coaches in Europe, I don’t need to tell you that.”
It was hard work to get into Champions League, is it a motivation that it’s all for nothing if you lose?
Mauricio: “For nothing, no, because it’s always important to live the experience. It’s not the same to compete in the Europe League and Champions League, it’s a different level and everything is different. It’s a good experience to assess our players, to compete at a different level, to share (playing in the Champions League) with the Premier League, which is very tough. We need to take a lot of things, a lot of information about the squad, about the players. It’s positive. Everything that happens has been positive for Tottenham.”
Was the situation and the late win against West Ham - down, backs to the wall - a good way to prepare?
Mauricio: “For us, the victory was massive for our confidence, to feel again what it means to compete and win, that’s important. We’ve had a difficult period over the last month, difficult for different reasons. It was important to win and how we won was fantastic. Tomorrow is a completely different game, a completely different competition. We need to be clever. We need to assess every player because we have some problems, we need to be clinical in how we pick the starting 11 because we have a lot of games ahead."
What issues are affecting selection tomorrow and which is more important, tomorrow or Chelsea?
Mauricio: “It’s clear tomorrow is the most important game, but our selection will be the players who are fit or not, who can play 90 minutes or not. We need to asses some players like Harry Kane, Mousa Dembele, Dele Alli if they can play 90 minutes and not take risks that could affect for the next games. We have one day less than Monaco to recover, they played Friday, we played Saturday and today is an important day for us to assess and to see if they’ve made a full recovery to play without risk tomorrow. It’s important to play 11 players who will be fine, no risk, who can run and play in the best condition.”
You recently played with a back three at Arsenal. Is that an option or was it a one-off?
Mauricio: “It’s always an option. It’s important to have different options, to use information to give our best and it depends on the players we have available. We can play different ways and that’s good, the team is ready to play three at the back or four at the back, that’s good for the team.”
Below: Hugo Lloris at Monaco on Monday evening
Thoughts on the game...
Hugo: “We know Monaco this season are a great team, each game they show it, they manage to score a lot of goals, as they did against Lorient (a 3-0 win) this weekend. We expect a difficult game tomorrow. Monaco are on a positive run and we come here to play a difficult match. Our goal is to win this game. It’s true that Monaco need a draw to qualify, but we believe in ourselves. We want to play a good game, to do our best, it’s a decisive game and we must win if we want to continue in the Champions League.”
What lessons have been learned from the last Champions League game against Bayer Leverkusen?
Hugo: “The fact is we’re struggling at Wembley. We’ve had quite good performances in our away games in the Champions League, we just need to follow up. We are responsible for this situation and we have no choice tomorrow, we need the three points for the chance to go through and we’re prepared for that.”
The team has been struggling for wins and goals, as the captain, what has been your message?
Hugo: “One thing that has been important for the team and the club is the return of Harry Kane. He brings a lot of positive energy like we saw against Arsenal and West Ham. He’s very important for us and tomorrow he’ll be decisive for the team, hopefully. He’s one of our leaders and tomorrow is an important moment for our season and we need all our top players at the top level."
Can you put your finger on why the team hasn’t fired in the Champions League this season?
Hugo: “That’s easy, the problem is our home games, simple as that. We’ve had good performances away, like in Moscow or against Leverkusen, a good draw, but you can see clearly we’ve lost our two home games and that’s why we’re in a bad situation at the moment. We stick together and believe in our chances and if we want to go through, we have to get the next two wins. The most important thing is to be focused on Monaco and then we will see what will happen in the last game.”