Football

Moura must fight for his place: Pochettino

Brazilian midfielder, a S$47-million signing from PSG, can't expect 'special treatment'

Mauricio Pochettino has warned new signing Lucas Moura that he will have to fight for his place in the Tottenham team and that his big reputation does not guarantee special treatment.

The Brazil international, who joined Spurs from Paris Saint-Germain this week for an initial fee of £25 million (S$47 million), struggled to get into the French side’s first team after the arrival of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe last year.

Erik Lamela has found it difficult to regain his place at Spurs since returning from injury and Pochettino said Moura too will be given no special preference.

“He’s not going to come here, arrive and say, ‘Oh because he is Lucas Moura and came from Paris Saint-Germain, he’s going to play because he is Lucas Moura’,” Pochettino said.

“He needs to show that he is better than our players. That is the fair competition. If you are in Paris Saint-Germain and Neymar arrives, if he is better than you then he plays. It’s fair, he’s better.”

The midfielder, 25, is unlikely to make his debut against Liverpool on Monday (12.30am, Singapore time), meaning Pochettino will probably pick a similar side to the one that triumphed so impressively against Manchester United in midweek but there may be a difference in approach at Anfield, where Spurs have not tasted victory since 2011.

Spurs were beaten 2-0 at Anfield last season but have shown resilience this year with imposing away performances against the likes of Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund.

“I think this season, we are more mature, no?” said Pochettino, whose side demolished Liverpool 4-1 at Wembley in October.

“But we are a team that remember, some people complained or criticised that Tottenham don’t have (a) Plan B.

“Now we can play with possession, without possession, in counter-attack or not counter-attack, dominate the games, play with one striker, without a striker, three at the back, five at the back, four at the back.

“Please. Now to be fair you have to say Tottenham have plan A, B, C and D, no?”

Toby Alderweireld (hamstring) and Danny Rose (knee) have recovered from injuries but Pochettino has suggested they are yet to regain match fitness. – AFP

Lucas Mouratottenham hotspurmauricio pochettino