‘Cannot pick a pass’ – Liverpool legend blasts Spurs man for display against Man Utd

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Liverpool legend, Steve Nicol, has criticised Erik Lamela’s display against Manchester United and believes Tottenham are in dire need of a new playmaker.

With Dele Alli serving his one-match ban and both Lo Celso and Ndombele benched, Lamela started in the number ten role behind Harry Kane.

The Argentine put in a typically industrious display and was excellent in retaining possession as well as in putting pressure on United’s defenders and midfielders.

However, Nicol believes that the 28-year-old’s lack of vision let him down on multiple occasions on Friday.

The pundit insisted that Jose Mourinho needs a playmaker who can spot and pick out runners if Spurs are going to continue playing this way, or else they mind find goals hard to come by.

Speaking about Tottenham’s performance on Friday, Nicol told ESPN FC (as relayed by Inside Football): “If Mourinho is going to play this way all the time, which it certainly looks like, he’s going to have to find a playmaker because he does not have one.

“Erik Lamela, as much as he had the ball, he cannot pick a pass.

“I don’t know whether he sees a pass and even if he does, he can’t pick it and he kept giving it away.

“Harry Kane must be thinking, whether he is sharp, fit physically or not, he must be thinking, ‘Wow, are we actually going to do this game in game out?’ Because if they do, he’s going to have a tough old time getting some goals.”

Spurs Web Opinion

That is an extremely harsh assessment of Lamela’s performance from Nicol. I remember just one occasion when Lamela missed out on a through ball when Son was bursting into space ahead of him. Apart from that, I thought the 28-year-old’s decision making was pretty much spot on.

I am not sure I agree with Nicol’s point of us ‘needing’ a playmaker. Lamela, Dele Alli, Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele can all pick out passes in the final third. We are much more in need of a striker to take the pressure off Harry Kane as well as a ball-winner in midfield to compete with Harry Winks (assuming Jose does not think Skipp is ready yet).

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  1. Steve Nicol may be losing his eyesight. Lamela was not going to be trying to “pick a pass” to Kane who was nowhere to be found for 87 of the 97 minutes he was on the field. He was obviously knackered and nowhere near ready to return to action. I hope he recovers soon. In the meantime, I hope Mourinho will hold him on the bench until the 75th minute until he is back in form.


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