BBC pundit Garth Crooks claims Tottenham's European hopes hinge on Hugo Lloris

Hugo Lloris Euro 2012 Penalty

Garth Crooks has hailed Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

Pundit Garth Crooks has told BBC Sport that Tottenham must keep goalkeeper Hugo Lloris fit if they are to qualify for the Champions League.

Spurs underlined their top four credentials on Saturday with a stunning 4-1 victory over title favourites Manchester City at White Hart Lane.

After Kevin De Bruyne had put City in front, Spurs rallied as Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld, Harry Kane and Erik Lamela struck in a famous victory for Mauricio Pochettino's men.

Fans are now dreaming of a top four finish after that result, especially with Spurs looking much improved defensively so far this season - largely thanks to the arrival of Belgian international Alderweireld.

Now though, former Spurs striker Crooks has told BBC Sport that the key to Tottenham's defensive showings - and their hopes of a top four finish - rest with goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

"Tottenham's win against Manchester City was largely down to the exploits of Hugo Lloris," said Crooks. "His save from Raheem Sterling when Spurs were trailing 1-0 was world class and a turning point in the game. He went on to make another string of important saves, which served to strengthen the belief Spurs could win the match."

"I've said it before and I'll say it again - if Tottenham have any chance of claiming a European spot this season, they will have to keep Lloris fit," he added.

Spurs can still finish outside the top four and claim European football, but the Europa League isn't what chairman Daniel Levy is looking for - he wants a Champions League spot again.

World class goalkeeper Lloris, 28, will also want Champions League football at some point in the near future to demonstrate that he really is one of the very best shot stoppers in world football.

Whilst the goals of Kane and the creativity of Christian Eriksen will be key for Spurs over the course of the season, Lloris really could be the key to Pochettino's hopes of breaking back in to the top four this season - and performances like his one against Manchester City will fill fans with hope that they can do it this time.

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