After going more than a week without a game following their 2-0 victory over West Ham, Tottenham were brought back to reality with a shuddering halt against Sheffield United on Thursday night.
Jose Mourinho’s side were brushed aside 3-1 by the Blades at Bramall Lane, and there was certainly an air of controversy over how the result came about. The Lilywhites saw Harry Kane’s first-half equaliser ruled out by VAR due to a handball infringement spotted by VAR, and it is safe to say the Spurs boss was not happy after the match.
But whilst the north Londoners are right to have their gripes with VAR and the officiating, it doesn’t take away from the fact they produced a pretty toothless performance – over the course of the 90 minutes, they managed just two shots on target, and that despite averaging a whopping 68% possession.
And one man who badly let down both Mourinho and his teammates, was Lucas Moura.
The Brazil international was given the nod to start, in what looked like on paper to be a rather exciting front three behind Harry Kane. The likes of Heung-min Son and Steven Bergwijn joined him in attack, and the pace and directness of the trio surely made for an enticing prospect.
Instead, Lucas went completely missing, and his biggest contribution in the game was when he got inadvertently involved in the chalked-off Kane goal.
As per Sofascore, he registered just one shot (and even that was off target), made no dribble attempts, no accurate crosses or long balls, and just one key pass.
And perhaps most worryingly for Mourinho, was that Lucas just didn’t seem to get to grips with the Blades’ physicality. Chris Wilder’s side won more total duels (both on the ground and in the air), and made more tackles, interceptions and clearances as a side as whole – and that was clearly reflected in the way in which they bullied Spurs’ Brazilian winger.
He won just four of his 13 ground duels, and lost possession a staggering 24 times whilst he was on the pitch – both stats comfortably being the highest of any Spurs player.
The £80k-a-week star simply wasn’t at the races, and in a game when they needed him to be fully firing on all cylinders, he simply disappeared.