ESPN say long term absentee Erik Lamela could finally return to action for Tottenham this weekend, with manager Mauricio Pochettino believing the winger holds the key to unlocking defensive opponents at Wembley.
We face manager-less West Bromwich Albion at “home” on Saturday and the article adds that for a third consecutive weekend, Pochettino will ask Lamela whether he feels ready to return to the squad for the first time since last October after a year of chronic hip problems.
Should he not be able to take his place within the senior squad the article adds that another run-out for the Spurs under-23s is likely — but a yes could see Pochettino throw him into the mix against the Baggies.
Pochettino expects West Brom to defend deep and asked whether Spurs needed to play with more pace at home against defensive opponents, he said: “To be dynamic, or to have players with high tempo, doesn’t mean that they have to run fast.
“If we wanted players to run fast, we’d sign Usain Bolt. That is different.
Pochettino added “We need to increase our tempo within the games, not players with more pace. If we’re playing against teams like Palace, Swansea or Burnley that are playing a lot deeper, you don’t need pace, you need good individual quality one vs. one.
He continued “[You need players] that can break one vs. one, like Lamela. You need good quality and capacity to drive, and an individual like Lamela can bring that quality to the team.
“We are using it [the width of Wembley’s pitch] well. But then sometimes we need players that have the capacity and ability, when players are deeper, to beat the opponent in a short space. It’s difficult.”
Pochettino also said that Lamela “needs to feel that he’s fully recovered,” adding: “At the moment he is training again. The other day he played 60 minutes [for the U23s], but he still has some doubts that make him cautious about the step up.”
It’s great that he’s finally on his way back. He’ll be like a new addition and let’s hope he hits the ground running.
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