For the first time in what feels like absolutely forever, Tottenham Hotspur has a clean bill of health. The club confirmed that all of its players are back in full training, and there are no significant injuries to speak of.
However, that doesn’t mean that all of its players are available against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday. In a pre-match press conference today, Mauricio Pochettino expressed doubts about the fitness of Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose, and also new signing Lucas Moura.
Lucas Moura - how is he settling in?
He is still doing things. He was yesterday doing some tests with our sports science and medical staff. Today he is in Paris doing private things. We hope tomorrow he can stay here and start to work with the team. Maybe he needs to try to work a little bit alone to reach the same level as the team.
So he won’t be involved on Sunday?
I don’t want to say yes or no, but I don’t believe it’ll be possible for him to be available.
This isn’t a surprise. It’s exceedingly rare that a new signing plays right away for a Mauricio Pochettino side, and Lucas only has 72 minutes of football under his belt this season. Between the rush to get settled in London and figuring out the training and playing regimens at Spurs, I’m not surprised that Pochettino might want to choose a less critical match to blood him in.
However, Pochettino did suggest that Lucas should be able to fully integrate into Tottenham’s style of play with time.
“I think it’s important for the team, different characteristics from different players. But it’s not going to change our principles, our philosophy and how we develop playing our philosophy playing football. I think that is so strong, the attitude of the team.
“I think he’s going to make the effort to adapt himself with his quality in our philosophy and we are going to adapt our quality a bit too. If he plays when he is available to play or when he is on the pitch, to have different characteristics to play. He is a player who can adapt completely to our philosophy and play in our way.”
Many fans were hoping that Alderweireld and Rose would be available for the Anfield trip, but Poch also seemed to back off on committing either player to what will be a pressure cooker situation at Anfield.
“You know when you’ve been out for a long period injured it’s important you have to assess them day by day. Only not, sure, too much time for them to compete again in games. We’re assessing them day by day. It’s a good question. It’s important to see the difference in between being fit to start training with the group and starting to be fit for the games. That is completely different.”
That’s not to say that we might not see any of those three on the bench, but it seems more likely that both could feature heavily in the midweek FA Cup tie against Newport County than on Sunday.