Antonio Conte may need to take Lucas Moura out of the team, football.london‘s Alasdair Gold has claimed.
The Brazilian has started both matches since the 52-year-old took over from Nuno Espirito Santo last week. He scored in the 3-2 Europa Conference League win over Vitesse, but his impact was limited in Sunday’s goalless draw away to Everton.
In his 71 minutes on the pitch before being replaced by Giovani Lo Celso, he only attempted one shot, which was blocked, and created just one chance. Overall, he lost five of his nine ground duels against the Toffees (via SofaScore).
Writing for football.london, Gold has identified a ‘problem’ with the shape used at Goodison Park, which relies on wing-backs to provide width. He said that it forces Son Heung-min and the opposite winger ‘into a congested area’ with Harry Kane.
As an alternative, the journalist suggested that Conte could switch to a front two of Son and Kane with a central playmaker in behind them.
“It would be harsh on Lucas, who is one the most determined and energetic players in the Spurs side, capable of creating attacking situations out of nothing,” Gold wrote.
“However, the Brazilian’s decision-making also lets him down during passing moves and against Everton, Tottenham’s moves sometimes floundered at his feet.”
He later added: “With Conte’s admiration for Skipp already in place and Hojbjerg being a leader in the team and a key figure, Lucas could end up being the fall guy and revert to being an impact sub and rotational starter as the games come thick and fast.”
Could Lucas possibly find joy in another role? The Athletic‘s Charlie Eccleshare suggested last week that he could potentially slot in at wing-back, just as Victor Moses did during Conte’s spell at Chelsea.
Eccleshare wrote that giving Lucas the space to ‘build up a head of steam’ could be a ‘frightening proposition’ for defenders if he doesn’t appear a perfect fit for the position. He could probably operate as part of a front two as well, given that he’s been used as a centre forward or second striker 61 times over the course of his career.
Therefore, while Gold’s reservations are understandable, there is enough to suggest that the 28-year-old might not need to be hastily jettisoned from Conte’s starting line-up.
In other news, here’s what Daniel Levy has promised to Conte
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