Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino backs Fernando Llorente and reveals Lucas Moura boost

The Spanish forward struggled to make an impact in attack, pressed into action as a third-choice option to lead the line with Harry Kane injured and with Son Heung-min on international duty

Ed Malyon
Craven Cottage
Sunday 20 January 2019 19:50
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Mauricio Pochettino has backed Fernando Llorente despite a calamitous showing during Tottenham’s late, comeback victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage and revealed that Lucas Moura could be fit to start up front against Chelsea in Thursday's League Cup semi-final.

The Spanish forward, 33, struggled to make an impact in attack, pressed into action as a third-choice option to lead the line with Harry Kane injured and with Son Heung-min on international duty.

Llorente scored at the wrong end to put Fulham in front and then struggled to create much in the right penalty area as Spurs struggled to translate possession into clear-cut chances.

But a Dele Alli header at the start of the second half pulled Spurs level and Harry Winks’ last-gasp header completed the comeback, allowing Pochettino to let Llorente off the hook for his display.

“I am happy, very happy,” Pochettino said when asked about Llorente’s performance.

“He helped the team with his qualities, he had a few chances to score and might have been a bit unlucky.

“He’s a little bit tired after 90 minutes.

“He was good, I was so happy with his performance, he helped the team in 93 minutes,” Pochettino added.

“He has a few actions to score, that is the most important thing. In games the moment will arrive for him to score.

“It was tough for him to compete, one year and a half without a game. But he deserves the opportunity, he is professional and a good player.”

Tottenham’s next task is a Carabao Cup semi-final against Chelsea on Thursday night, but they appear to have good news on the injury front with Lucas Moura approaching a return and possibly recovering in time to start up front for Tottenham at Stamford Bridge.

“It is not a worry [to be without Kane and Son]. It’s an opportunity for other players,” he said.

Fernano Llorente had a disappointing game

“We are going to be there [against Chelsea] trying to win the game. It’s going to be tough because Chelsea are a very good team.

“I hope that Lucas Moura is going to be good. He was training today at the training ground but today we didn’t want to take a risk with him so we’ll wait until he’s 100%. Maybe for the bench, maybe he will start the game.”

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