Lloris hails Tottenham's 'great personality' after securing Champions League last-16 spot

Spurs trailed Marseille 1-0 at half time but advanced thanks to goals from Lenglet and a 95th-minute Hojbjerg winner

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Tottenham Hotspur captain Hugo Lloris said his team had to overcome a "psychological battle" as the Premier League side showed their mettle in staging a 2-1 comeback against Marseille to secure their place in the Champions League last 16.

Victory secured top spot in Group D for the North London club and, in theory at least, a more favourable draw in the knockout round.

That prospect looked bleak at half-time, though, as Marseille defender Chancel Mbemba headed home to give the French club's own hopes of progressing a much-needed shot in the arm.

However, Spurs were a team transformed in the second half and fought back to equalise through Clement Lenglet before Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg scored a dramatic winner in the 95th minute to stun the Stade Velodrome

"It was a tough night. It was a great battle. I think it was more of a psychological battle because we could feel in the first half there was a team playing without the fear to lose – which was Marseille," Lloris told BT Sport.

"Then in the second half we faced a team that had the fear to lose because they were 1-0 up and one goal could cost their chances to go through."

Spurs advance along with Eintracht Frankfurt, who won 2-1 away to Sporting in Lisbon. Hojbjerg's last-gasp winner meant Marseille finish bottom of the group with Sporting dropping into the Europa League.

"We expected that type of game. We know the Velodrome is a difficult place to deal with and I think we showed great personality in the second half," Lloris added.

Tottenham claimed the victory despite being without the presence on the touchline of suspended manager Antonio Conte, while they saw Son Heung-min come off hurt in the first half.

The latest comeback win follows on from a 3-2 victory at Bournemouth in the Premier League, when they trailed by two goals and saw Rodrigo Bentancur net the deciding goal in stoppage time.

Marseille v Spurs ratings

Assistant manager Cristian Stellini put the win down to "fitness, personality and energy" and added: "In this type of stadium and this type of match, it is not easy. The stadium was very hot in the first half, but we need to try to play all 90 minutes on the same level."

They were without the presence on the touchline of Conte, suspended after being shown a red card at the end of last week's 1-1 draw with Sporting, when a VAR call denied Harry Kane a last-gasp winner.

And the visitors also had to deal with losing South Korean forward Son to a head knock in the first half.

"In this moment we don't know," Stellini said when asked if Son had been left concussed after an aerial challenge with Mbemba.

"We have to wait for the medical assessment, but I saw him in the dressing room. We celebrated with Son as well."

Igor Tudor's team were also dealt an early blow when their former Manchester United centre-back Eric Bailly came off with a hamstring injury.

Marseille's Chancel Mbemba challenges Tottenham's Harry Kane. AP Photo

Yet they started strongly and Lloris had to make two key saves to deny Alexis Sanchez and then Jordan Veretout in the first half before imposing Congolese defender Mbemba headed them in front in the second added minute at the end of the half.

Spurs offered hardly anything in the first half but reset at half time and drew level when Lenglet headed in an Ivan Perisic free-kick.

Kane had a goal disallowed for offside before Hojbjerg crashed a shot off the bar 10 minutes from time.

Sead Kolasinac then missed a golden chance for Marseille and Hojbjerg had the last laugh as the hosts pushed forward and left themselves exposed.

"The players didn't hear me. I was telling them to stay back but they couldn't hear me because of the crowd," said Tudor.

Updated: November 02, 2022, 6:34 AM
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