Spurs boss: Erik Lamela has made ‘a massive improvement in the last few days’

Erik Lamela. Picture: PA

Erik Lamela. Picture: PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Mauricio Pochettino says Erik Lamela has made “a massive improvement in the last few days” and is now fully focused on returning to action for Tottenham.

Lamela has been out of action with a long-term hip problem since October and, after becoming frustrated with his slow progress, he opted to get a change of scenery by spending some time with his former club Roma last month.

But the midfielder returned to London last Thursday and Pochettino has noticed a marked improvement in the 24-year-old’s mood.

“We were talking this morning and he was very positive,” said the manager. “We were joking. There were some rumours about him going back to River Plate.

“It was a little bit of a joke. I said ‘oh, you want to go back to Argentina?’ and he said ‘no, I want to stay here, to play for this club, to be in England and play football’. He is now very focused on his recovery and being available as soon as possible.

“That is a massive improvement in the last few days. It is very powerful, because if you believe, we are all capable – if you are focused on recovering from your problem.”

Pochettino has a mounting injury list ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League clash against Middlesbrough at White Hart Lane.

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Goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris is expected to return after missing Tuesday’s match at Sunderland due to illness, but left-back Danny Rose limped off with a knee injury at the Stadium of Light. It remains unclear how long he will be missing.

“Now we need to wait until Monday - he will see the specialist and then we will explain,” said Pochettino. “There’s no indication [about a timescale] because now we need to see the results of his scan yesterday afternoon, and on Monday he’s going to see the specialist.

“Hugo will be ok. Yesterday and today he trained well, and he will be available for tomorrow. Then GK [Nkoudou] is going well, and Kieran Trippier, but they’re still out for tomorrow.

“For the next week he will be involved in the team training from day one and will be available for next week.

“Jan Vertonghen is very positive, he’s running outside and is positive. But he still needs a few weeks more. Maybe it’s two or maybe three weeks, but we’re very positive because his progression is very good in the last few weeks.”

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