Lucas Moura has been making Tottenham Hotspur suppoters’ ears prick up in his brief appearances in the Premier League already this season, but he’s only made two starts for Spurs thus far, and both of those were against Rochdale in the FA Cup.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has noticed Lucas’ lively performances thus far, and suggested today that he could be in line for his first Premier League start as Spurs host Huddersfield in the Premier League on Saturday. However, he tried to play down expectations on the Brazilian, who only played 71 minutes for PSG in the first half of the season and who is trying to adjust to a new team, country, and league.
“Yes, of course. He’s going to have that possibility from now until the end of the season.
”It’s true that he still needs to adapt his quality to the team. We’re trying to build his fitness and adapt his characteristics to the team. PSG is a completely different demand, standard and philosophy from here. He’s capable of everything going forward, he has amazing quality but then he needs to be more involved with the team when we don’t have the ball.
”We’re helping him. That is about training, understanding the position and being capable of making efforts with and without the ball. But we’re so pleased with how he’s adapting himself to the team.”
With the exception of his two starts against Rochdale which came against lower league opposition, we’ve only gotten glimpses of what Lucas can do, but his cameos have been enough to get me very interested in his skillset. He’s got a great ability to take on defenders, he’s tricky with the ball at his feet, and shows a good awareness of space.
However, you can tell that he’s not quite on the same wavelength with his Spurs teammates, and he hasn’t yet gone a full 90 minutes. This is to be expected, as there’s no way he’s “Pochettino fit” after hardly playing in France the first half of the season and he hasn’t had a lot of time with Spurs. Still, Eric Dier has already praised his intelligence and speed, and it seems like it’s just a matter of time.
Elsewhere, Jan Vertonghen has returned to Tottenham training and is available for selection against Huddersfield, though it’s possible Pochettino could save him for the mid-week Champions League match against Juventus. Toby Alderweireld is in solo training as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury and that doesn’t make any of us nervous one bit nope nope nope
TEAM NEWS: @JanVertonghen (ankle) has returned to first team training. pic.twitter.com/GkxYvleZAo— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 2, 2018
Pochettino continued to stress that the club is taking the long road with regards to Toby’s fitness, and that he will not be in the frame for the Juventus match.
“We need to be cautious with Toby. I think still we need to assess every day. I don’t believe he can be ready for Juventus. But I’m happy because Jan is back again and maybe he is available for tomorrow to play against Huddersfield.”
With Toby out and assuming Jan is saved for Juventus, that would mean another match with Davinson Sanchez partnering with Eric Dier in central defense, presumably with Victor Wanyama starting in midfield. That’s probably ok in a home match against Huddersfield.