Pochettino: Lucas Moura will be useful but he needs time to get up to speed

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino says Lucas Moura is unlikely to make his debut against Liverpool
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino says Lucas Moura is unlikely to make his debut against Liverpool

Mauricio Pochettino says Lucas Moura will bring valuable qualities to Tottenham’s squad – but he has stressed the Brazilian winger must be given time to get up to speed in north London, and has suggested he will not be involved against Liverpool.

Lucas made a £24.5million switch from Paris Saint-Germain on deadline day, but he has only made six appearances this season – all as a substitute – with the last of them coming on December 13.

So, while Spurs’ manager has high hopes for his new recruit, he is also playing down the early expectations.

Pochettino began: “Yesterday he was doing some tests with our sports science and medical staff, and today he’s in Paris doing private things. We hope tomorrow he can stay here and start to work with the team. But maybe he needs to work a little bit along to reach the same level as the team.

“I don’t want to say yes or not, but I don’t believe it will be possible for him to be available [against Liverpool on Sunday].

“For the club it was a good opportunity to add him because he can bring different qualities in the squad. He’s an experienced player – young but with a lot of experience playing at a big club like PSG.

“The previous season he scored a lot of goals. He’s fast and can run forward and then he can link with the team perfectly. It’s very helpful to have him. We hope his adaptation will be quick and our expectation, and his expectation, is to try to help the team as soon as possible.

READ MORE: Gossip – Brady ‘ruined West Ham’s Slimani move’, Man Utd ‘target Pochettino’ and more

READ MORE: Who is Guido Carrillo, Southampton’s record signing?

READ MORE: As Walcott prepares to face Arsenal, here are three ex-Gunners who returned to haunt Wenger

“To have different options to play during the game, to change, is important for the team – to have different qualities and characteristics from different players. He’s a player that can adapt completely to our philosophy and adapt to our way.”

But Pochettino added: “We signed a player that is not playing at PSG. We signed a player who has not competed for six or seven months. Of course he’s an exciting name for our fans. He came from PSG, a big club. But it’s different to signing Neymar, Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.
“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, know the players, the Premier League, the philosophy of the new team.
“There’s plenty of examples here – like [Heung-Min] Son, Moussa Sissoko, [Erik] Lamela – that they need time. Many quality players struggle in six months or one year to adapt to the team, the club, the Premier League.

“I don’t want to create too much expectation. If he’s an amazing help for us and can score goals, fantastic. But if he doesn’t score form the beginning, it’s not a mistake.”

Lucas has the advantage of knowing Serge Aurier well, given they played on the same flank together at PSG, and Pochettino feels that will be a big help in assisting the new man to fit in.

“I think it’s so important, like Moussa Sissoko was for Serge when he arrived here,” said Tottenham’s manager. “To adapt yourself in a new club and country, it’s so important – to have, like Serge said, his ‘brother’.

“It’s always important but in the end our squad is amazing in this aspect, because all the players are so nice, such good people. He’s very welcome and not only Serge is going to help, but different players.”

Lucas’ arrival has had one unfortunate side-effect – Tottenham have had to omit one of their foreign players from their Champions League squad, and Juan Foyth was been the man to drop out. It was not a call that Pochettino enjoyed making – and he made it clear he did not make it alone.

“That is not only my decision,” he said. “It’s a club decision with the chairman, the administration and with the chief scout. We knew that if you bring in a player on the last day, we didn’t have the space then for some player.

“Yes, it’s very painful but I think Juan… When we signed him we believed in him like a future, potential top player and of course he’s going to play how he’s playing in the FA Cup, different games and we are so happy with his evolution.

“It’s not a big deal, this situation, and of course he understands. But for me it’s very painful because that situation happened and it looks like we don’t have a plan.”

Pochettino will have been heartened at least to see both Aurier and Harry Winks returning to full training, meaning there are no longer any players in the treatment room.

However, Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose may need additional time to build up their fitness before they are ready to start matches.

“When you come from a long period injured, it’s important to assess the players day by day,” said Pochettino. “There’s no time[frame]. It’s difficult, because we are assessing them day by day. It’s important to see the difference between being fit to start training with the group and to be fit for games. That is completely different.”

Arrivé au PSG en 2012 pour 40 M€, Lucas est désormais un joueur de Tottenham. L’ailier brésilien (25 ans) a rejoint Serge Aurier et la Premier League moyennant 27 M€ pour un contrat de cinq ans. En 229 matchs, 46 buts et 50 passes décisives, Lucas s’est constitué un joli palmarès hexagonal : quatre titres de champion, quatre coupes de la Ligue, trois coupes de France, sans oublier cinq trophées des champions.

Tottenham travel to Liverpool this weekend with confidence high after beating Manchester United 2-0 at Wembley on Wednesday night. It follows similarly impressive home wins over Liverpool themselves, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund this season.

However, Pochettino’s side have a poor record away from home against the top-six sides. Under the Argentinian, they have only won one of their 18 visits to United, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool, while losing 11 of those contests.

Last term Spurs fell 2-0 down at Anfield inside the opening 18 minutes, and this campaign they have been defeated at the Emirates, Old Trafford and the Etihad.

Despite that, Pochettino insists he has no intention of adopting a cautious approach on Merseyside.

“No,” he said. “If you see the game against Manchester United, they had plenty of very good offensive players – Martial, Lingard, Alexis [Sanchez], Lukaku, Pogba.

“It’s similar to Liverpool. They are going to have Salah, Firmino, Mane – plenty of offensive players and very talented players.

“We hope to replicate the same level [as Wednesday] and be at the same performance and try to win because, to be in the race for the top four until the end, it’s so important to win against Liverpool too.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs and visit my Facebook page at