Mauricio Pochettino has warned not to expect too much too soon of Lucas Moura after admitting that the new Tottenham Hotspur recruit is unlikely to be ready to make his debut when Spurs visit Liverpool on Sunday (4 February).
The Brazilian forward became Spurs' first and only January addition of the transfer window on deadline day after Pochettino's side agreed to pay around £25m to prise him away from Paris Saint-Germain.
The 25-year-old winger was once lauded as one of the next big things to emerge from Brazil and his move to Tottenham has generated a lot of enthusiasm among the fans.
However, Pochettino tried to downplay those expectations after pointing out that Moura was just a fringe player at PSG and only made six substitute appearances under Unai Emery during the opening half of the season.
"Exciting? No. We signed a player that is not playing at PSG. We signed a player who has not competed for six or seven months," Pochettino said as quoted by Football.London ahead of Spurs trip to Liverpool.
Of course he's an exciting name for our fans. He came from PSG, a big club. But it's different to signing Neymar, Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. The expectation is that he can help us in the next three months but we cannot put too much pressure on him. He needs to adapt, know the players, the Premier League, the philosophy of the new team.
"There's plenty of examples here -- like Son [Heung-Min], Moussa SIssoko, [Erik] Lamela -- that they need time. Many quality players struggle in six months or one year to adapt to the team, the club, the Premier League. I don't want to create too much expectation but if he's an amazing help for us and can score goals, fantastic. But if he doesn't score from the beginning, it's not a mistake."
Pochettino later suggested that the trip to Liverpool will still come too early for Moura as he is still working with the club's sports science department to build his match fitness.
Asked whether Tottenham fans could see Moura make his debut at Anfield, Pochettino said: "I don't want to say yes or no, but I don't believe it'll be possible for him to be available.
"He is still doing things. He was yesterday doing some tests with our sports science and medical staff. Today he is in Paris doing private things. We hope tomorrow he can stay here and start to work with the team. Maybe he needs to try to work a little bit alone to reach the same level as the team."
The arrival of Moura has forced the Tottenham boss to leave Juan Foyth out of his Champions League squad for the remaining of the season in order to fulfil the under Uefa home-grown player rules. The 20-year-old defender has only made five appearances since arriving to Tottenham from Estudiantes in the summer as a prospect for the future.
Foyth was unlikely to play in the Champions League knockout out stages anyway, but Pochettino still said that leaving him out of the squad has been a very painful decision.
"But that is not only my decision. It is a club decision, with the chairman, the administration and with the chief scout. It was a club decision. But you know it was Lamela in the first part of the Champions League. Now we cannot put all in there, because we struggle a little bit with the list because that situation is the reality. We don't have space for everyone," the Tottenham boss added.
"Like I told you, Lucas was an opportunity in the end, on the last day of the transfer market. We knew that if you bring in a player on the last day we knew that we didn't have the space then for some players. Yes, it's very painful but I think Juan, when we signed him, we believed him to be a future, potential top player and of course he's going to play now. He's playing in the FA Cup, different games and we are so happy with his evolution.
"Of course it's not a big deal this situation and of course he understands. But for me it's very painful because that situation happened and it looks like we don't have a plan you know. But I told you as a club at the moment we sign opportunities and this was a great opportunity for us but in the same way you need to take a very painful decision."