Following the arrival of Gareth Bale on loan from Real Madrid in the summer transfer window, perhaps few would have predicted that Lucas Moura would still be playing a big role in Tottenham Hotspur’s team now that we’re in March.
Although the Welsh international endured a difficult start back in North London, he has found his feet in recent weeks, with six goals and three assists in his last six appearances in all competitions.
It is impressive, therefore, that Moura is still a regular under Mourinho, and he has also been revitalised in recent weeks, thanks to a simple tactical change from the Portuguese manager.
The former PSG man, who reportedly earns £110k per week at Spurs, was struggling out on the right-wing in the Premier League, as he has averaged a 6.51 rating across his 22 appearances in the top-flight so far this season.
However, since moving to a more central position behind Harry Kane, the Brazilian looks far more dangerous, as in four appearances in that position, he has contributed one goal and one assist, averaging an impressive 7.2 rating.
First, he played well there in the 2-0 win against West Brom, before being a big part of the superb 4-0 win against Burnley last weekend, firing an excellent finish past Nick Pope from a central position, somewhere he is unlikely to have been if he had been deployed on the right.
Whilst he didn’t score or assist against Crystal Palace in the 4-1 win on Sunday evening, he was instrumental in the opening goal, as he won the ball back high up the pitch and fed Kane, who squared for Gareth Bale to score.
The 28-year-old caused Palace all sorts of problems, with his direct running seemingly far more effective in a central position, evidenced by his mazy run on Sunday which was halted by Gary Cahill on the edge of the box, earning a dangerous free-kick for Spurs.
Moura was involved in 21 ground duels during the game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and whilst he would win just nine of those, it was clear that he was a constant nuisance to the Palace defenders with his work rate.
Fans will know that Moura’s best Spurs performance came in Amsterdam with his memorable hattrick in the 3-2 win against Ajax in the Champions League, where he also featured centrally, and whilst he is yet to regularly produce the same sorts of numbers or performances under Mourinho, it is clear that this central-attacking position is really improving both Moura and Spurs’ overall game.