'Unbelievable' Lucas Moura gives Mauricio Pochettino selection headache
Moura scored hat-trick for Spurs in 4-0 win over Huddersfield, ahead of Champions League last-eight second leg with Man City on Wednesday
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 13/04/19 8:31pm
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino hopes Lucas Moura's "unbelievable" hat-trick in the 4-0 win against Huddersfield can inspire him to fill the void left by Harry Kane.
Moura created a slice of history by becoming the first man to score a treble in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where the Brazilian celebrated on the pitch with his son after the game.
Talisman Kane looks like missing the rest of the season with an ankle ligament injury suffered in the Champions League win over Manchester City in midweek.
Everyone expected Heung-min Son to be the man to step into the limelight in Kane's absence, but with the South Korean named on the bench, it was Moura who did the damage with a first hat-trick in European football.
"Football moves so quick and after the game when Harry got injured everyone believed Sonny was going to step up and is going to be the man, but we have seen today Lucas got a hat-trick and it was an unbelievable afternoon for him," Pochettino said.
"Players need to have the possibility to play to show the quality and that is why sometimes all the managers are disappointed when the people say about rotation, about selection of the starting XI.
"I am so happy, the performance was very professional, I am happy for Lucas for his hat-trick.
"It is going to help and bring him confidence. We have ahead a very tough period, two games against Manchester City and then Brighton.
"It is going to be tough, we need all the players fit. And with confidence it is going to be better if we feel we have the capacity to perform the way we want and get close to achieving all the things we plan."
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Pochettino made seven changes following the 1-0 win over City in midweek, with the second leg of the quarter-final to come on Wednesday before another Premier League clash with City on Saturday.
But the Argentine says the changes were not a risk, and sees fantastic depth in his squad in the middle of a pivotal period.
He told Sky Sports: "We had to make some tough decisions. Rather than rest players, it was about providing the team with fresh legs because the effort was big against City. Everyone will have an opinion but after the game we can say it was a right decision. A lot of players deserve to play.
"It wasn't a risk. The problem is the perception always, we are fighting with the perception. You know when you are training with these players every day it is not a risk to play with one or another, but the risk comes with the perception which you cannot stop. We knew our performance was going to be good with one [player] or with another.
It's a special day for me. A good moment. My first hat-trick in Europe! I am so happy here. We keep going, keep being strong to make history here.
Moura speaking on Sky Sports
"If you don't get the result the criticism is going to arrive, but it is about the belief you have in the players.
"It is easy to be comfortable and relax after the moment we lived here on Tuesday against Manchester City. It was important for them to realise that the most important game was today.
"It's so important because seven changes I think builds up confidence in the squad and confidence in the team. It's going to be a tough race to the end [to finish in the top four]."
'A lovely problem for Poch'
Speaking on Sky Sports after the win, Ledley King and Jamie Redknapp say Saturday's win gives Pochettino a nice headache ahead of the crucial second leg on Wednesday...
⚽⚽⚽ Lucas Moura is the 1st Tottenham player to score a PL hat-trick, other than Harry Kane, since Gareth Bale in Dec 2012.— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 13, 2019
Kane had scored Spurs’ previous 8 PL hat-tricks.
He’s the 4th Brazilian player to score a PL hat-trick after Afonso Alves, Robinho & Roberto Firmino pic.twitter.com/4mEQxTghQ6
King: "Moura has given the manager a selection headache for Wednesday. He's been coming off the bench recently but with today's performance he's asking questions."
Redknapp: "It was a perfect performance in many ways, explosive in the right times, and they needed Moura to make an impact like he did. It's a lovely [selection] problem, a problem you want."