Pochettino: Erik Lamela will be a star
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has backed Erik Lamela to emerge as a star this season, after his influential contribution to his side's 2-1 win against AEL Limassol in the Europa League play-off tie.
Spurs were trailing until Pochettino threw Lamela into the action for the final 18 minutes of the game and the Argentine midfielder's introduction swiftly changed dynamic of the match.
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Lamela has failed to make an impact at Spurs since his move to the club from Roma last summer, but he showed his ability with assists that ended in goals for Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane as the north London club came away with a 2-1 win.
Pochettino suggested Lamela has the potential to shine in his second season at Spurs, after overcoming the fitness issues that hampered him following his high profile arrival from Roma.
"It is never easy in the first season for a player from another country and it is true that it was difficult for him," Pochettino said of his compatriot Lamela.
"He was injured, too, and we are confident with him that with time and hard work, like he has done in preseason, that he can go far. He was very disappointed about last season but the past is the past.
"We need him to look forward, believe in his skill and condition and work very, very hard. With confidence and time he will show his value. You always nominate players on the bench who can have an impact and all three subs had an impact on the game."
Pochettino admitted he was not a big fan of the Europa League during his time as Southampton manager, but he was relieved to come through his side's first big test in European competition.
"This was a very tough game a difficult game, a hard game because he conditions were difficult and the weather was difficult," he added. "I'm happy with the performance. In the end 2-1 for us is an important result for us.
"It is true that in the first half we started to make mistakes, but in general, I am happy and looking forward to the next game, on Sunday.
"We created two or three chances in the first seven minutes. I think it's true that we believed that it would be an easy game, but we knew when we watched their game against Zenit -- Limassol won the game 1-0 -- that they have a very good team.
"In the second half we started the game, I think we restarted the game in the second half and I'm very satisfied after the game."