Home » “I wanted to play”- Tottenham star recalls being benched by Mauricio Pochettino in Champions League final vs Liverpool

“I wanted to play”- Tottenham star recalls being benched by Mauricio Pochettino in Champions League final vs Liverpool

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Tottenham Hotspur discard Lucas Moura does not want to return to Sau Paulo.

Tottenham star Lucas Moura recalls being benched by Mauricio Pochettino in Champions League final vs Liverpool

Lucas Moura etched himself in Tottenham Hotspur’s history books when he scored a hat-trick for Mauricio Pochettino’s side in the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League semifinals against Ajax.

Spurs needed to score thrice in the second half of the second leg in Amsterdam to make their first-ever Champions League final. And they did, with Lucas scoring all three goals.

It was an emotional moment for everyone involved, including now-Chelsea coach Mauricio Pochettino, who was seen crying with happiness after the full-time whistle.

Tottenham Hotspur's English striker Harry Kane (L) consoles Lucas Moura.
Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane (L) consoles Lucas Moura. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Lucas, 30, is set to leave the club this summer as a free agent. Asked to recall how it felt being benched by Pochettino in the final against Liverpool in 2019, the Brazilian forward replied, via Evening Standard:

“Yes, the feeling was bad. I didn’t expect it. Of course I wanted to play but what can I say? It’s the coach’s decision. I just…mutual respect and I was so focused to win that game, to be champion that I didn’t let this affect me or affect the team. But of course I wanted to play. I didn’t expect to be on the bench.”

What could have been…

It is easy to now say that things could have been different had a certain player played or did not play against Liverpool. But it was surprising for some to see Lucas benched against the Reds.

Fans would have thought his heroics against the Dutch giants gave him the right to play in the final. He did come on for the final 24 minutes but had very little time to make any impact on the game.

The decision was particularly surprising for some given Lucas started and played the full 90 minutes against Ajax in both legs. Poch went with a more balanced approach in the final it seems.

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Only Son Heung-min and Harry Kane were out-and-out attackers for us, with Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen playing behind them. It would be one of the major regrets for Lucas not to have started that final.

But at least he finished his chapter in N17 in style, scoring in stoppage time on Sunday with a wonderful solo run to wrap up the 4-1 scoreline against Leeds United.

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