Poch: Signing Moura different to Neymar, Messi or Ronaldo

Matt Stead

Mauricio Pochettino insists Lucas Moura will need time at Tottenham and is not a finished article like Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi.

Lucas was in Paris on Thursday for personal reasons and he is unlikely to play against Liverpool on Sunday.

Spurs completed a £28million deal for Lucas on the last day of the transfer window but Pochettino has called for patience with the Brazilian.

“We signed a player that is not playing at PSG,” Pochettino said. “We signed a player who has not competed for six or seven months. Of course he’s a name, an exciting name for our fans, he came from PSG, a big club.

“But it’s different to signing Neymar, Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. That would be different.

“The expectation is that he can help us in the next three months but we cannot put too much pressure on him.

“He needs to adapt, to get to know the players, the Premier League and the philosophy of the new team.”

Asked if Lucas will be included in the squad at Anfield this weekend, Pochettino said: “I don’t want to say yes or no, but I don’t think it is possible to be available.

“He’s still doing things – he was yesterday doing some tests with our sports science medical staff, today he’s in Paris doing private things.

“We hope tomorrow he can start to work with the team. Maybe he needs to work alone a little bit to reach the team’s level.”

Tottenham have struggled to break down more defensive opponents this season, particularly at Wembley, where Burnley, Swansea, West Ham and West Brom have all avoided defeat.

Lucas, who scored 16 goals for PSG last season, should add some extra penetration.

“He can bring different qualities to the squad, he’s an experienced player – young, but with a lot of experience at a big club like PSG,” Pochettino said.

“He scored a lot of goals last season, he’s fast, he can fit with the team perfectly.”

Pochettino also confirmed Lucas would replace Argentinian defender Juan Foyth in Tottenham’s Champions League squad for the knock-out stages. Spurs play Juventus in the last 16 later this month.

“That is not only my decision but a club decision with the chairman, the administration, the chief scout,” Pochettino said. “It was a club decision.”

Tottenham will be hoping to sustain momentum this weekend after their excellent win over Manchester United. Another victory would see them jump ahead of Liverpool in the race for the top four.

“It will be massive for us to win,” Pochettino said. “You need to arrive in key competitions with confidence, it’s so important to win against Liverpool. It will provide the team with a massive boost.”

Pochettino admitted he could rotate the side, with Newport in the FA Cup, Arsenal in the league and Juventus all to come in the next fortnight.

Harry Winks and Serge Aurier are both available again after recovering from ankle and calf injuries respectively. Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose are still regaining fitness but could return.


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