Lucas Moura says Tottenham 'capable of winning the Premier League'

Brazilian in line to start Europa League match against Ludogorets on Thursday as games continue to come thick and fast

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Jose Mourinho, their manager, may not care to talk about his table-topping Tottenham Hotspur as contenders for the Premier League title. But one of his players is prepared to broach the subject.

Lucas Moura admitted he was daring to dream. "Why not think of winning the Premier League?" asked Moura, a player forever associated with making Spurs believe in the improbable - it was the Brazilian whose second-half hat-trick delivered a place in the 2019 European Cup final.

“We have the capacity. I know it's early and there's a lot of games to play but we need to think, in every game, we are capable of winning the Premier League and it’s important that in every game we show that mentality.”

Having beaten Manchester City 2-0 to install themselves at the summit, Spurs go to Chelsea on Sunday looking to stretch a winning run to four league games, and, ideally, to arrive at Stamford Bridge not too fatigued after their Europa League appointment with Ludogorets Razgrad. Some senior players will be rested Thursday against the Bulgarians, Mourinho mindful that Chelsea will have had two extra days of recovery and practice, having played their midweek, Champions League match on Tuesday.

The demands of this season are intense for everybody, because of the concentrated calendar. They feel more so for Spurs, whose sixth-placed finish in the last Premier League meant having to enter the Europa League at the pre-qualifying stage. They had to play three matches, including trips to Bulgaria and North Macedonia, to earn the right to a spot in a group stage that meant trips to Belgium (Antwerp), Austria (LASK) and Bulgaria again, where they beat Ludogorets three weeks ago.

But, on paper, this Tottenham should have the depth of resources for a scarcely interrupted diet of two matches per week, and the collective knowhow to sustain a tilt at the very top of the Premier League.

Take away the eleven players - goalkeeper, four defenders, and six midfielders/forwards - who have accumulated most minutes so far, and you can still assemble a second-string Spurs XI that boasts two Premier League titles (Joe Hart), a combined three French Ligue 1 titles (Serge Aurier and Gio Lo Celso), a Europa League gold medal (Sergio Reguilon), three Dutch Eredivisie titles (Steven Bergwijn), and, of course, four Champions Leagues and a Spanish Liga (Gareth Bale). The club may have waited more than 12 years since anyone in a Spurs jersey lifted significant silverware, but there are plenty of medals dotted around their employees’ living-rooms.


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Moura had won a Copa Sudamericana with Sao Paulo and four Ligue 1 titles with Paris Saint-Germain by the age of 25. Now 28, he insists “we deserve to win a trophy - it’s time,” while acknowledging that with Bale approaching full match-fitness and Erik Lamela soon to be back from injury, his principal role may be as an impact substitute. “We have a lot of great players and we need to respect the decisions of the coach,” said the Brazilian. “I need to show when I'm on the pitch that I'm ready.”

The same would go for Lo Celso who, fresh from setting up goals in both of Argentina’s last two World Cup qualifiers, turned in a de luxe supersub performance against City. Introduced from the bench 20 minutes into the second half, he put Spurs 2-0 up 35 seconds after entering the game, tuning into the counter-attacking groove “with his fresh legs”, as his manager put it, to run on to Harry Kane’s superb pass.

It was Lo Celso’s fourth goal of the season across competitions, from just five games, and if he has come to learn almost exactly when he will be summoned from the bench by Mourinho - on 65 minutes in all three of the last Premier League matches - he knows there is science behind the clockwork timing. Spurs scored their winning goals against West Bromwich Albion and Brighton & Hove Albion after Lo Celso had joined their midfield, and he sealed the victory against City.

Mourinho must reach into Spurs’ defensive reserves against Ludogorets and against Chelsea. Toby Alderweireld, who picked up a muscle problem against City, will be out, Mourinho reported, for “two to four weeks.”

The manager encouraged the summer signing from Swansea City, Joe Rodon, to seize opportunities Alderweireld’s absence would bring. Rodon, a Wales international, is not registered yet for the Europa League, but could make a first start in one of the three London derbies ahead. By then Spurs will have played Chelsea, Arsenal, and Crystal Palace, their credentials as possible champions should be clearer. After that, they host Liverpool.


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