Lucas Moura has revealed he felt confident he was going to start for Tottenham in the 2019 Champions League final, but had ‘nothing to say’ to Mauricio Pochettino after being left out of the starting lineup.
Spurs produced one of the most memorable runs in Champions League history to the final which was spearheaded by Moura, who scored a hat-trick to complete a comeback against Ajax, including a last gasp 96th-minute winner at the Amsterdam Arena.
It was ultimately not to be for the north London club, who fell at the final hurdle in Madrid, losing 2-0 to fellow Premier League side Liverpool.
Despite dragging his side to the final, Moura found out he would be starting from the bench and says he was left speechless by the decision. The 29-year-old also claimed there was a ‘tense’ atmosphere within the squad in the build-up to the big occasion.
In an interview with ESPN Brasil, Moura said: “A historic qualification like that, I was very confident, convinced that I was going to play, that we were going to be champions.
“On the day, on the day of the game, we were leaving the hotel, in that last speech at the hotel, when we were already leaving and going to the stadium.
“Even the atmosphere was a little tense between the players, because no one understood anything, there was that silence and such.
“But I’m a very professional guy, with a very calm mind and at that moment I just wanted to be champion. So, I didn’t have any reaction, nothing to say to him.
“Also because after the game there was that sadness and everyone went to their own house, because we already went on vacation.
“And whether we like it or not, we have to respect it, right? But sometimes we don’t agree with all the coach’s decisions, we have to know how to respect it.
“And as I said, at that moment I just wanted to be champion, I just wanted to win the game and unfortunately it wasn’t possible.”
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It was a tough decision at the time for Pochettino with Harry Kane coming back into contention after Moura’s iconic semi-final performance.
Based on merit, Moura should have started, and we will never know how much impact he would have had if he was in the XI. As always, hindsight can be a beautiful thing.
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