Erik Lamela: Tottenham’s late win at Watford could prove to be crucial in top-four fight
Erik Lamela believes Monday’s late victory at Watford could prove to be a crucial one in the fight for the top four.
The Argentine opened the scoring at Vicarage Road, netting for the fourth time in five games after his first-half hat-trick against Monaco earlier in the month.
Although Tottenham’s lead was cancelled out by Odion Ighalo shortly before the break, substitute Heung-Min Son grabbed an 89th-minute winner for Mauricio Pochettino’s visitors, who have finished 2015 with three successive league triumphs and are now four points clear of fifth-placed Crystal Palace.
“I hope at the end of the season we finish in the top four because it’s in our minds that we can do it, and I think at the end of the season these points can be very important for us,” said Lamela.
“I’m happy with my performance but I’m more happy with the team. The team is playing well and this is very important because at the end of the season we need to finish in the top four.”
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Asked if he is now enjoying his best form for Spurs since his £30million arrival in the summer of 2013, Lamela said: “I don’t know, I always think about the team. I play to help my team and my team-mates. I’m happy that we won and we got another three points.
“I feel good and I always believe in my team and my team-mates. We are working hard every day to find our best and show it on the pitch.
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“Everyone in this club is important - the gaffer, the reserves, my team-mates, the kit-man. Everyone’s important to us and we’re all aware of it and we need to keep fighting.”
Pochettino sprang a surprise at Watford by making a rare change to his standard 4-2-3-1 formation, opting to deploy Eric Dier as a third centre-back.
The tactical switch came despite the fact that the match came just 48 hours after the previous game against Norwich on Boxing Day, giving the players very little time to get used to the new tactics.
“We changed because Watford play with the two central attackers,” said Lamela. “They’re a difficult team to play against, they score goals and create a lot of chances. For every team that comes here, it’s difficult.
“We did it in the training - the gaffer explained some things about Watford - and we put it on show in the match. We’re all happy.”
Lamela was the victim of the challenge from Nathan Ake that earned the Watford man a straight red card in the second half, but the Spurs midfielder finished the game and is not expecting any after-effects.
“It was a bad tackle but we don’t play until Sunday,” he said. “I’m ok, it is just a bang.”
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