lucas moura

Lucas: North London Derby “perfect” chance for Spurs rebound

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Tottenham Hotspur might be down after a stunning weekend loss to Newcastle United, but the team’s confidence is up.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Lucas Moura isn’t put off by the club’s 1-1-1 start to the season, and is fairly certain the team will regain its mojo during Saturday’s North London Derby match at Arsenal.

In fact, it’s perfect. From The London Evening Standard:

“Is this the perfect game for us to have after the Newcastle defeat? Yes. We need to look forward now. There are a lot of hard games to come. …  I think we are stronger now (than in previous years). I am sure we can go anywhere and win games.”

Lucas also backs a former PSG teammate and new derby rival to come good after a rough weekend against Liverpool.

David Luiz was turned inside out by Mohamed Salah, but Lucas thinks his countryman will get the job done.

“David is a very experienced player and knows how to go through this situation. He will be stronger very soon,” Moura said. “I am happy for him because it was a good transfer for him to make. I am also happy because he is closer to me now. He can come visit me at my home easier because when he was at Chelsea, he was so far away.”

Given Luiz’s form, Lucas will be pleased to see him in close proximity in a big rebound opportunity. That said, Luiz’s weekend was far from what we’ve come to expect from the playmaking center back.

Man United beat Tottenham in Shanghai (video)

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Manchester United capped off their tour to Australia and the Far East with a 2-1 win against Tottenham Hotspur in Shanghai, as tempers flared over in a tense International Champions Cup friendly at Hongkou Stadium.

Anthony Martial gave United the lead in the first half but Lucas Moura then equalized before academy youngster Angel Gomes, 18, scored the winner for the Red Devils who have a perfect record so far in preseason.

A feisty first half in China was played at a good tempo despite the heat, with youngsters Daniel James and Troy Parrot impressing for United and Spurs respectively.

Martial hit the post as he looked sharp throughout the first half, and soon the first goal of the game arrived.

After good work from Andreas Perreira, Martial finished from a tight angle past Paolo Gazzaniga at his near post. Spurs’ goalkeeper will not want to see that one back…

Moussa Sissoko clattered into James which resulted in a mini-scuffle between both sets of players with Harry Kane and Ashley Young at the center of things.

Before the break Tanguy Ndombele and Parrot were combining well and United almost doubled their lead as Paul Pogba smashed just off target.

United changed all 11 players at half time but Eric Bailly only lasted a few minutes as he came off injured, which was one of the only negatives for Solskjaer.

Spurs levelled the scores with 25 minutes to go as a tame effort from substitute Moura from the edge of the box somehow deflected past Sergio Romero and in.

Gomes then won it for United, as the youngster scored a superb goal to keep his impressive preseason going.

He was played in by Juan Mata before squeezing a shot home as it seemed he would pull the ball back for Marcus Rashford.

United now return to Europe having won all four of their preseason friendlies so far, as Solskjaer’s side are cranking through the gears impressively as they build up to the 2019-20 campaign.

Tottenham head to Munich to play against Real Madrid next week, plus either Bayern Munich or Fenerbache in the 2019 Audi Cup.

Kane scores from midfield to beat Juve

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Harry Kane lobbed Wojciech Szczesny from nearly 50 yards to send Tottenham Hotspur past Juventus early Sunday morning.

Maybe he wanted to embarrass a former North London Derby rival, or perhaps he just wanted to avoid penalties.

The goal was made more remarkable by Kane’s blast radius including two men marking him near the Juve part of the center circle.

[ MORE: Where will Bale go? ]

It was an entertaining International Champions Cup match on Sunday morning, with goalkeepers Hugo Lloris and Gianluigi Buffon plenty busy.

Tanguy Ndombele came off the bench to assist and impress for Spurs and Matthijs de Ligt making his Juve debut as a sub.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain scored for Juve, and the latter probably should’ve won it with a dragged shot in the 83rd minute.

Spurs goals came courtesy of Erik Lamela, who tapped in a rebound of a bullet shot from 17-year-old Ryan Parrott, and Moura.

The Brazilian was fed into the box by a sweet Ndombele pass moments after the new Spurs midfielder subbed into the match.

Here is Ronaldo’s goal.

Should Harry Kane start the Champions League final?

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Since the moment Lucas Moura sent Tottenham Hotspur through, the idea of Harry Kane returning from his latest ankle ligament injury to start Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final against Liverpool has been the game’s biggest question.

[ MORE: Win or lose UCL final, not much changes for Spurs ]

It will continue to dominate conversation until lineups are released at 2 p.m. ET.

Will Pochettino be tempted to call upon Tottenham’s talisman to start the biggest game in the club’s history, perhaps knowing he’s nowhere near 90-minutes fit? You’d be crazy to think not.

Whether or not he will do so, though, is a whole other (series of) question(s) completely.

[ MORE: Pochettino tight-lipped on Kane status ]

The reason Kane has dominated headlines, after missing Spurs’ last nine games  from the second leg of the quarterfinals to both legs of the semifinals, has much to do with the fact that his inclusion (or exclusion, as it may be) will drastically change the shape of Pochettino’s team and game plan.

If Kane starts, it’ll likely come at the expense of Moura, the hat-trick hero that got them there, while allowing Pochettino to pick an extra midfielder — most likely Harry Winks — and play a midfield diamond behind Kane and Son Heung-min.

If Kane is starts the game on the bench, Pochettino faces a number of difficult decisions: playing a back-three or a back-four; Moura, as a wide attacker, or Fernando Llorente, as a target man up top; pushing one of Dele Alli or Christian Eriksen higher up, or leaving both of them in central midfield; Danny Rose at left back, or nominally as a left winger?

[ MORE: How will Liverpool line up for Champions League final? ]

Predictably, Pochettino has refused to tip his hand for three weeks running — quotes from the BBC:

“It’s difficult, you need to take a decision and tomorrow is another decision. We have all the information. We will use every detail to try to win.

“You can use only 11 players from the beginning — that is the most painful situation.”

It’s impossible to know which way Pochettino will go, because we’ve seen each of the above on a number of occasions this season. Sometimes it was out of necessity, due to injuries, and sometimes it was pure experimentation; both to great success, and terrible failure.

In the end, the risk of having to sub Kane off after eight minutes — as happened with Diego Costa in the 2014 UCL final — or him being wholly ineffective after missing so much time, isn’t worth the upside of having a semi-fit Kane to face the Premier League’s stingiest defense in a game that Spurs might never see again. If Pochettino enters the game knowing in advance that he’ll have to sub Kane off before 90 minutes, let alone the potential for 120 and penalty kicks, he’ll do more harm than good by selecting him.

That isn’t to say he will be able to resist the urge to do so anyway.

Tearful Pochettino hails Spurs ‘heroes’ after another UCL comeback

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By any conservative estimation, Tottenham Hotspur have been “almost out” of this season’s UEFA Champions League on three occasions… if not more.

[ MORE: Spurs pull off second amazing UCL comeback in two days ]

There was the disastrous start to the group stage which saw them take just one point from their first three games; they needed a result away to Barcelona and for Inter Milan to slip up against PSV Eindhoven on the final day of the group stage just to reach the knockout rounds. They cruised past Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16. They came from behind twice and dodged a stoppage-time bullet to beat Manchester City in the quarterfinals.

Then, on Wednesday, down 3-0 with 45 minutes left to play in Amsterdam, Mauricio Pochettino’s “heroes” did it again.

By the time he reached the first of his players to celebrate after sound of the final whistle rang out, Pochettino was already in tears. He would remain that way, off and on, for at least the next 20 minutes, including when he began the gauntlet of post-game interviews.

Pochettino searched for the right words to convey his joy, his shock and his appreciation for everyone and everything tangentially connected to Tottenham’s improbable run to the June 1 final in Madrid. (WATCH HERE)

“It’s still difficult to talk. The emotion is amazing, thank you to football. My players are heroes — in the last year I was telling everyone this group are heroes. The second half, they were amazing. Thank you, football — this type of emotion without football is not possible. Thank you to everyone who has believed in us. To describe this in words is difficult.

“We were talking before the game that when you work and when you feel the love, it’s not stress, it’s passion of the team. We showed we love the sport and football. Today was amazing. It was a joy to watch this kind of game.

“It’s difficult to compete at this level. I am so grateful to be a coach. To be in football and to live this type of football.

“They are all heroes, but [Lucas Moura] was a superhero. From the first to last one — the tough moment to live in [the last five years of his career].”

(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images )

As for Moura, who scored the heroic second-half hat trick to send Spurs through to the first European final in club history, Christian Eriksen has an idea.

“Today it was non-tactical, more of a fight and a heart performance. Lucas Moura, he’s how we won the game, he deserves it, rollercoaster of a season. For him to get us in the final, I hope he gets a statue in England after this, we are blown away, no real words for it, I feel sorry for Ajax.”

“It was a ridiculous game, we were really far down, we tried to fight back, we were just lucky. I feel sorry for Ajax, they played a very good game against us. Today we mostly created more chances; football, they played better. It is relief, we have been fighting for this, it is a dream to be in the final.

“We felt like we weren’t able to look ourselves in the mirror if we were to go down three or four nil. We had to fight, we scored early to get some momentum, put them under pressure. We are lucky the ball falls in the right direction, Lucas had a wonderful game. We are relieved.”