We didn’t see nearly as much of Lucas Moura as we thought we would last season. Purchased in the January transfer window from PSG, Lucas came to Spurs as a potential superstar who never quite fulfilled his promise, but with a bucket full of talent and an opportunity to re-establish his bonafides in a new league and at a new club.
However, minutes were hard to come by for the Brazilian speedster. Lucas played only 536 minutes in the second half of the season, 208 in the Premier League. His lone goal came in the FA Cup at Rochdale. Many fans were left scratching their heads wondering why Spurs spent all this money to leave a player like Lucas on the bench.
But Lucas’ slow introduction to Premier League football seems to have been the plan all along. We already know that new players at Tottenham almost require a full preseason under Mauricio Pochettino to acclimate to his style of play and the tempo. Joining in January only made the transition to life in England more difficult as he faced the prospects of competing with an established starting XI.
In an interview with Brazilian outlet Lance!, Lucas basically confirmed all of this, saying that his opening months at Spurs were more about acclimation than minutes, and suggesting that he knew what he was getting into right from the beginning.
“My first months at Tottenham were to adapt to the new league, to the city, to the climate of a new country. But it was quiet, everyone welcomed me very well, I already knew [Serge] Aurier, with whom I had played in PSG. They treated me very well, the environment is very cool. It was easy to adapt and I am very happy to be wearing the shirt of a great team, and to play in the Premier League, which was a great dream. It’s a great opportunity in my life.
“I knew it would be difficult. I arrived at the window mid-season, and there were not so many signings. When I arrived the team was already in place, fighting for the first team places, they were already well into the Champions League. It is very difficult to get there and to be a starter. The expectation was to get there, to adapt, to know the environment, the new teammates. Now, it’s time to take advantage of the preseason, start strong, and be able to clinch a starting spot this season.
“The expectation is to start well, go strong and fight for a place in the starting team. The team is very good with great players, but the season is long with many games. Surely I will have many opportunities. I need to take advantage of the chances that will appear.”
This is very encouraging to read, and is actually a bit of a relief. It suggests to me that Lucas understood that his opportunities would be limited in the spring of 2018, and that his primary goal was to get settled and learn about the system. In a way, it was an extension of Spurs’ preseason — bonding with his new teammates, learning the language, learning the tactics. He seemed to know that he wouldn’t play much, but that with hard work he’d have a good foundation to which to build upon in order to challenge for a first team spot this coming fall.
Just about every time we saw him play, there were seeds of excitement and promise there, even though he looked at times out of sync with his teammates and without a firm understanding of what he was supposed to be doing. That’s to be expected. But after reading this interview, I’m more hopeful than ever that we’ll see Lucas blossom at Spurs next season, and we’ll get to watch him play a whole lot more often.