Lucas Moura explains what Antonio Conte has changed and the similar decision he made to Mourinho



Lucas Moura is enjoying the changes Antonio Conte has made at Tottenham Hotspur and in particular being back in his favourite position on the pitch.

The 29-year-old Brazilian has been a regular under the Italian, who calls him an important player for Spurs.

Lucas has responded with five goals and four assists in Conte’s 14 matches so far in all competitions and the attackers believes the new head coach has made plenty of changes behind the scenes at Hotspur Way.

“I think it is very clear. He has changed the team and the way that we play,” he said in an interview with Tottenham’s matchday programme.

“He has given me a lot of confidence and, in football, confidence is very important. He asks us to have a lot of personality.

“I have always had personality in my career, so it doesn’t faze me to go to the ball, to dribble, to accelerate the game.

“I think it can make the difference and it has brought me to where I am now. It is a good relationship — what he asks and what I like to do. I think that’s why we are doing well.”

For much of his Tottenham career Lucas has been used as a winger thanks to his pace and dribbling ability.

However, for a period in the second half of last season Jose Mourinho restored him to the more central number 10 role he prefers and Conte has used both the Brazilian and Son Heung-min as number 10s behind Harry Kane since his arrival.

“When I was in the academy team at Sao Paulo, I always played as a number 10 – playing in the middle, creating opportunities for the strikers, dropping to take the ball and accelerating the play,” he said.

“When I arrived in the first team though, as I am very quick, the manager started to put me out wide to exploit the space, to run and go.

“I learned to play that position and I played it while I was with Sao Paulo and PSG but, in my game, everyone can see that I love to drop and take the ball.”

He added: “It is different to Sonny for example – someone who is a real winger, occupies that space really well and has an unbelievable finish. l, though, am a player that likes to give the ball to him.

“When I arrived here, under Mauricio Pochettino and Jose Mourinho, I played as a winger before, in the last few games under Mourinho, he put me as a number 10.

“I told him I liked to play in the middle, that I felt really comfortable there, he said, ‘okay’, and I started to play very well, and then with Antonio Conte, I think he’s sees that, in that position, I can be more useful for the team.

“He gives me the freedom to play in that position. I then have the freedom to go to the left, to the right, be in the middle, drop to take the ball and accelerate the ball.”

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Lucas’ skills and close control were honed on the streets of Sao Paulo and as a child he would also play futsal, a form of football that encourages skill on the ball and a game that the Brazilian adores.

“I started playing football on the street. We used a lot of things for goalposts – flip flops, rocks…that was a great time,” he said.

“I always played on the street with my brothers and friends, but they were always older than me and taller than me. That helped me though because I wasn’t afraid to face them or try to dribble at them.

“That started from very early on, maybe from when I was five-years-old and then, when I was seven, I started to play futsal and I played that until I was about 13.

“That is my passion. I love it. When you play futsal, you need to think quickly and get out of a small space and away from two or three opponents and you need to be 100 per cent focussed in every second. So that has helped a lot in my game.”





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