Mauricio Pochettino believes that the return of Érik Lamela’s “energy” can provide a kick start to our season after disappointing results against Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion have left his side 13 points adrift of the leaders, Manchester City.
The Irish Times say the Argentina winger is expected to be named in a Premier League match-day squad for the first time since last October when we face Leicester City at the King Power Stadium tonight.
Lamela featured for an hour for our under-23s in the defeat by Chelsea last week and is in contention for a place on the bench, however the article does add that Mauricio Pochettino said the player’s return to first-team action would be closely monitored.
“Some players have the capacity to play from the beginning after an injury and have the same performance before they were injured,” Pochettino said. “Others need more time because their body is different. I always said that he needed time to recover his feeling.”
The article adds that Pochettino was asked if Lamela had been worried that he might never play again after so long out, Pochettino said: “I never said he was worried, only he added was waiting to feel again that emotion for him to step up and say: ‘Now I believe I can cope with the pressure to play and I am sure I am going to give my best.’
The article explains that a lack of forward options has at times held us back this season, with us scoring fewer goals than any other side in the top six , and Pochettino expects the return of Lamela will give his team an extra dimension in attack.
“I think for the team it is important,” he said. “To have another option to play, to have the capacity to play in a different way, for the team it is very healthy. I think we miss his energy – his energy is massive. You can feel when he is on the pitch he is always available to run, to press. And when he has the ball he has the capacity to beat opponents. I think we miss him because he is a completely different option.”
The article adds how the club kept faith with Lamela in the summer despite injury problems that have restricted him to 85 Premier League appearances but it does add that his contract is up for renewal at the end of next season but Pochettino clearly rates the 25-year-old, signed by André Villas-Boas, and is confident hewill return to his best after such a testing year.
“He was very down,” Pochettino said. “He’s still so young but it was a massive problem for him. To get through two hip operations, you need to be strong. But he has a massive energy and is a very energetic person. When you see him in the dressing room or restaurant he is always moving. He is hyperactive – that’s how he is on the pitch. He loves to run, loves to feel the ball at his feet.”
So will having Lamela back be like the “new player” thing. I can imagine he will be a bit rusty to start with but I can imagine he’s raring to go and let’s hope we get the Lamela that was hitting form back.
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