Argentinian winger Lamela returns in a woeful week for Spurs after Leicester defeat
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It has been a bad week for Tottenham but Erik Lamela at least has reasons to smile.
While his team-mates were enduring another frustrating afternoon at Wembley on Saturday, drawing 1-1 with West Bromwich Albion, he was witnessing the birth of his first child – a son.
Then, on Tuesday night, the midfielder’s long-awaited return from injury provided the sole silver lining from the 2-1 defeat at Leicester City.
Appearing off the bench in the 77th minute in place of Christian Eriksen, Lamela took the final steps on a long road to recovery – a road which started 13 months ago when he entered the treatment room, and involved operations on both of his hips.
“It was crazy, probably the worst time of my life,” said Lamela. “I really wanted to play but it took too long, my injury.
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“The lowest point was when I did two surgeries in one month and a half. I was not available to play but was working every day and doing the right rehabilitation. In my mind was always the feeling that I wanted to play and be back with the team.
“Did I ever worry I wouldn’t come back? Of course, in really bad times you always think the worst.
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“But my family was always with me and the supporters wanted me on the pitch - they brought me energy to work every day and to never give up.
“The manager and all the staff honestly were amazing. They were always with me, behind me. All of us wanted the same thing - me playing.”
In the build-up to Tuesday’s trip to Leicester, Pochettino urged Spurs’ fans to be patient with Lamela.
But the Argentinian made an impact within two minutes of his introduction, setting up Harry Kane for a goal that halved Spurs’ deficit and gave them renewed hope of finding an equaliser.
It did not arrive though and, having missed Tottenham’s famous European nights against Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid this season, Lamela returns to a side that is lying outside the top four and facing a fight to qualify for the Champions League again.
“I feel good to be back on the pitch but disappointed for the result.
“Of course I can get much better. I’m still not 100 per cent but I’m good enough to play and I’m happy to be back.
“It’s only a bad week. I believe 100 per cent in this team, I know the quality that we have. I believe we have a very, very good team and we will be better of course.”