Jose Mourinho has offered his backing to Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris, who he believes ranks among the finest goalkeepers in the world.

Lloris shipped eight goals last week, with his performance in a 3-0 defeat to Premier League leaders Manchester City coming under scrutiny after Spurs came out on the wrong side of a 5-4 FA Cup thriller at Everton.

Joe Hart is expected to return for Thursday's Europa League round-of-32 meeting with Wolfsberger, although Mourinho does not feel Lloris' status as first choice is under immediate threat from the ex-England number one.

"When a player is a top player, one or two or three mistakes does not make him not a top player. That is the most important thing," Mourinho told a pre-match news conference before highlighting some of Alisson's recent struggles at Liverpool.

"I shouldn't speak about it because he's not my goalkeeper, but I don't think he will take it on the wrong side: for me Alisson is one of the top five best goalkeepers in the world and in the previous matches he made big mistakes.

"But he is one of the top five in the world, in my opinion, and Hugo is the same. He is an amazing goalkeeper who is performing super consistently since he recovered from that fracture.

"During all my time here he is playing so, so well. If he had responsibility on one or another of the goals we conceded recently he is still the same goalkeeper, he is my number one choice and has all my trust and confidence.

"In Joe Hart's case I am happy he played already nine matches this season. He's a goalkeeper that I totally trust too."

Among goalkeepers to have played five or more games in the Premier League this season, Lloris ranks fifth in terms of save percentage (74) behind Nick Pope, Emiliano Martinez, Robert Sanchez and Ederson.

He has only made one error leading to a goal and is outperforming his expected goals on target (xGOT) conceded of 19.7, as per Opta, having let in 17 goals excluding penalties and own goals.

Lloris' cumulative goals prevented figure of 2.7 comes thanks to 71 saves from 88 shots on target faced in the top flight.

Dwindling form either side of Christmas left Spurs languishing ninth in the Premier League.

Yet they are still only six points shy of fourth-placed Chelsea with a game in hand and Mourinho rejected the suggestion that the Europa League represents his team's best hope of securing Champions League qualification.

 "It's difficult in any case but it's possible in both cases," he said. "Fourth position in the Premier League is, of course, very difficult but is not mathematically impossible.

"Last season we were in a very, very bad position to get in the Europa League spots. In the end we made it in the last minute of the last game, but we made it.

"Our motivation last season was that, while it was mathematically possible, we had to go. We chased it until the last game which is the same thing we are going to do."

He added: "In the Europa League there are an incredible number of matches. We are only in the last 32. It is a strong competition with very good teams.

"But it is open. We are one of the 32 teams who have a chance to win and we are going to try."

Thursday's match has been moved to the Puskas Arena in Budapest due to COVID-19 restrictions in Austria.

Joe Hart has thanked Tottenham for showing faith in him as he looks to bounce back from what he describes as a "difficult" spell in his career.

The goalkeeper signed a two-year deal with Spurs on Tuesday, joining captain Hugo Lloris and Paulo Gazzaniga as Jose Mourinho's options between the sticks.

Now 33, Hart's career has been on a downward trajectory since Pep Guardiola took over as Manchester City boss in 2016.

He lost his starting spot at City, with whom he won two Premier League titles, having loan spells with Torino and West Ham.

It was hoped a move to Burnley would represent the revival of his fortunes but he lost his place in the team to Nick Pope and did not play a single top-flight game in the 2019-20 season.

Capped 75 times for England, he has not played for his country since 2017, but after a period of reflection Hart insisted he has plenty to offer Tottenham on and off the pitch as he eyes a fresh start.

"I just want to say thank you to the club for seeing something in me," Hart said to Spurs' website after completing his move.

"No getting away from it, it's been a difficult couple of years for me personally on the football field, but I feel I've got so much to give.

"I feel like I've got a lot of quality, a lot in the bank, but not much game time recently.

"[The last couple of years] have been a process, something I've certainly not had to get used to, because I didn't want to ever get used to it.

"But I've lived it, I've worked hard, kept the same standards I've kept throughout my career, right from Shrewsbury Town. 

"I've tried to grow as a person, tried to grow as a player, tried to use my time, tried to look at it differently.

"If I'm not playing on the pitch, what can I get out of myself off the pitch? I still feel like exactly the same player, and I still feel like I've got more to give.

"I can only look at things positively. I’m ready to go. I feel like I’m starting again, and I quite enjoy that feeling. My body is certainly ready for me to start again."

Hart believes the quality of Spurs' squad and the club's infrastructure give him reasons to be ambitious about what can be achieved.

He added: "I love the idea of European football, two games a week - it all excites me.

"You can't help but get excited at this club. Off the field, doing everything right, tremendous training ground, one of the world’s greatest stadiums, some of the best players you can get in football. 

"We can work together as a team and work together as a unit and the sky is the limit, it has to be."

Tottenham have completed the signing of former Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart on a two-year contract.

Hart, 33, was a free agent after his deal with fellow Premier League side Burnley expired.

"We are delighted to announce the signing of Joe Hart on a contract until 2022," Spurs said on Tuesday.

Hart lost his place in the Burnley team to Nick Pope and did not play a league game in the 2019-20 season.

He conceded in May he was likely to have to look abroad for his next opportunity, having previously represented Torino in Serie A.

However, he will instead remain in England with Spurs, who also have captain Hugo Lloris and Paulo Gazzaniga as goalkeeping options for manager Jose Mourinho.

Hart spent 12 years with City, winning two Premier League titles, but had loan spells with West Ham and Torino after losing his place following Pep Guardiola's appointment in 2016.

He has 75 caps for England but has not played for his country since 2017.

The arrival of Hart comes after midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg completed his move to Tottenham from Southampton last week.

Tottenham midfielder Oliver Skipp has joined Norwich City on a season-long loan, the Premier League club confirmed on Monday.

Skipp, 19, who made seven Premier League appearances last season, follows fellow teenager Troy Parrott in making a temporary switch to a Championship club after the 18-year-old forward signed for Millwall.

The arrival of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg from Southampton appeared to have limited Skipp's Spurs opportunities for the coming campaign.

Tottenham were reportedly set to make a signing on Monday, meanwhile, with former Manchester City and England goalkeeper Joe Hart said to be a target.

Hart is a free agent after leaving Burnley in June.

Joe Hart understands he is unlikely to earn a move to a top club at the end of the season but is eager to go abroad if that means he can become a key player for a team once more.

Now 33, Hart has not played a Premier League game for Burnley since being dropped after a 5-1 home loss to Everton on Boxing Day in 2018, a match of which he "remembers every second".

Since leaving Manchester City, where he won two Premier League titles, he has represented Torino and West Ham on loan, while the goalkeeper with 75 caps to his name has lost his place in the England squad.

Hart acknowledges he may not be joining a side contending for titles when his Burnley contract expires but is more determined than ever to prove he has much to offer.

"It [my desire] has got stronger," Hart said to the Guardian. "This lockdown has made me realise how much I want to play football.

"I understand I'm not going to be part of Real Madrid. I don't think I've lost the ability, but I know how football works.

"All I want to do is be a big part of something. I just want to be a big part of a club and give my all to them. That hope burns through me."

Referring to his time at Torino, Hart added: "I enjoyed being part of that club. In terms of being in a different country, experiencing a different culture, playing a different league, I absolutely loved it.

"It's definitely something I'd love to do again. I believe there will be [clubs who want to sign me]. But they all need to work out exactly what the hell is going on [with the coronavirus pandemic].

"I like to think I'm a good catch. I'm on a free contract, I've got experience and real hunger. The Premier League has been great for me but I'm more than willing to spread my wings, I'm totally open [to playing abroad].

"I just want to play at the highest level I can. In England, I don't feel I am going to be able to do that."

Hart is to appear on a BBC programme on mental health to support a campaign led by Prince William.

"It is certainly my lowest point – I'm sad I'm not playing, [but it is] a challenge rather than a dark cloud," he said of his own situation.

"Mentally, because of what I've put in place when I was flying higher and winning leagues, I feel really comfortable talking about my head space. But I also need to speak because football is difficult.

"It is hard but I'm going to be on a programme with guys who have real problems.

"I want people who haven't experienced any adversity in football to learn from this. It's all very well riding the wave, but it won't last forever.

"Inevitably, it's hard to maintain. How we react is something I'm keen on trying to help people with – giving them the tools to deal with those situations. One of the greatest things for me is to help people."

Joe Hart says he understands Pep Guardiola had to "make his stamp" after taking over at Manchester City and changing the goalkeeper, a development that impacted his career.

The 33-year-old is now back-up at Burnley, having had loan spells at Torino and West Ham since leaving the club with whom he won five major trophies.

Hart was firmly established at City since signing from Shrewsbury Town in 2006 and was the England number one.

But he immediately felt uneasy when former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola was appointed to much fanfare in 2016.

Initially replaced by Claudio Bravo, it is now Ederson in place for City between the sticks and Hart, who has struggled to recapture the same success he had in Manchester, conceded it is difficult to question Guardiola's record.

Asked if he and Guardiola had an open discussion before he moved to Torino, Hart told the Guardian: "Yeah, I made sure we had dialogue.

"I certainly backed myself to the hilt when we spoke. I listened to what he had to say. There's more to it than me not being as good with my feet as he wants from a goalkeeper.

"I realised he needed to make his stamp at City. He had a direction he wanted to go, and he's not exactly struggled since, has he?

"I was fairly concerned [when he was appointed]. Lots of important people tried to reassure me. But you just have a feeling, don't you?

"I came back late from the Euros [in 2016] and he made it clear when I got there that I needed to be out by that window.

"That's Pep's brilliance. He makes decisions and stands by them. I don't dislike him. We get on as men and we both love football."

David de Gea has played himself back into form in the past few weeks, but Sunday was something of a mixed bag for Manchester United's number one.

In only the third minute, he dithered over a kick for so long that, when he finally tried to send the ball forward, Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin was able to block it into the United net.

De Gea did go some way towards making amends, saving well low to his left two minutes later to stop Calvert-Lewin scoring a second before producing a brilliant block with his leg to deny Gylfi Sigurdsson in the dying moments. That save earned a slice of luck, with Calvert-Lewin then seeing a potential winner disallowed for offside.

Still, United fans could argue De Gea cost them a victory, and the Spain international has now made seven errors leading to Premier League goals since the start of last season*. No goalkeeper has been responsible for more.

In fact, during the relative wilderness of the post-Alex Ferguson years, De Gea has committed 10 mistakes leading to league goals, which is not a brilliant statistic for a man who has won United's player of the year award four times since Fergie retired in 2013.

However, as you will see below, De Gea is far from the top of the list of erring goalkeepers since the start of 2013-14...

THE MOST ERRORS LEADING TO GOALS BY GOALKEEPERS IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE SINCE THE START OF 2013-14

Asmir Begovic: 18
Hugo Lloris: 17
Simon Mignolet: 14
Lukasz Fabianski: 12
Jordan Pickford: 12
Joe Hart: 12
Petr Cech: 11
David de Gea: 10
Brad Guzan: 10
Artur Boruc: 10

*For context, Opta define an 'error' as a mistake from a player that leads to a shot or a goal. For goalkeepers, the definition is extended to 'spills and attempted claims or saves by a goalkeeper which directly leads to a second attempt to score'.

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