Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino unsure if Erik Lamela will play again this season
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
The Argentinian hasn’t played for Spurs since October 25 and doesn’t appear any closer to returning
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino admits he is unsure whether Erik Lamela will play again this season after revealing his countryman is still feeling some pain in his hip.
Lamela has been out of action since the League Cup tie against Liverpool in October and, four and a half months on, it remains unclear when the midfielder will return.
“I cannot say one week, two weeks, three weeks, one month or maybe next season - I don’t know,” said Pochettino. “It’s too difficult, my position, because we are assessing him every day, how he is every day.
“In the morning we prepare some plan to do. Sometimes he’s involved from the beginning in the warm-up with the team. Sometimes he feels pain and we change the plan.
“Now it’s day by day, we’ll see. We hope as soon as possible he can be available again, that is our idea. But we cannot give more information than I can provide now.”
Lamela spent some time with his former club Roma in January, trying to speed up his recovery, but Pochettino said: “He’s 100 per cent here. He’s doing everything here.”
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There has been better news for left-back Ben Davies in the last 24 hours, with the Welshman signing a new contract which takes him through to 2021.
“Always it’s difficult to share a position with Danny Rose, who is one of the best full-backs in England or Europe - and he (Davies) works very hard to try to find his place,” said Pochettino.
“He’s a fantastic professional, a fantastic boy and I can only praise him because his position wasn’t easy from the beginning and he’s always kept fighting, always waiting for his opportunity to play, and I think he fully deserves to extend the contract and improve his salary.
“When we’re talking about the team and the squad, this type of player deserves all the credit, to keep fighting and pushing the level of the squad.”
Harry Kane is also having a good end to the week after being named the Premier League Player of the Month for February, following immediately in the footsteps of his team-mate Dele Alli, who was given the prize for January.
“I think you can see Harry is playing very well, he’s scoring goals,” said Pochettino. “It’s fantastic for the team and for him.
“The award, the trophy always represents that the team is doing well too, so we’re happy for him and the team – there have been good results in the last few weeks. He fully deserves the trophy.
“I think he started to play regularly in the Premier League two years and a few months ago and he’s showing he can still improve, but he’s showing he’s one of the best strikers in Europe.
“He’s very young and his mentality is trying to improve every day, to learn and be better in every game and every season.”
Kane is set to face his former club Millwall in Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final, having spent four months with the Lions when they were in the Championship in 2012.
Neil Harris’ side may be in League One now but they will not be pushovers. They are unbeaten in their last 17 games in all competitions and that run includes three FA Cup triumphs over top-flight sides - Bournemouth, Watford and Leicester - en route to the last eight.
“We are very focused because the game will be very tough,” said Pochettino. “It’s another London derby and we have been watching all their games. They fully deserve to be in the quarter-finals - they were better than the Premier League teams.
“I think we are aware about that situation. We respect them. It’s a very compact team and it’s very clear how they play, very clear their ideas of how they manage the games.
“Their formation is 1-4-4-2 with two strikers and we’re fully aware how they play. We know we will find a very tough game because the FA Cup is special, it’s magic, and the beauty of the FA Cup is the level isn’t important because everyone believes they can win.
“They are on a very good run and are full of confidence. They trust in the way they play. For us it’s a final, we are ready to fight.
“It’s very important because it’s massive to be at Wembley in the semi-final, it’s a very important opportunity for us. But first we know of all we need to play against a very tough team.”
Sunday’s clash is due to be the last ever cup tie to be played at White Hart Lane – although Pochettino quickly interjected “maybe” when he was reminded of that fact, referring to the ongoing delay in a formal announcement about Spurs’ plans for next season.
The manager added that he and his players are not making any special plans for the event, and will be following their usual routine – which includes some pre-match music in the dressing room.
“I love to hear music before the game,” said Pochettino. “I think today in all changing rooms it happens. In our changing room it’s [organised by] Dele Alli and Harry Kane. Sometimes our goalkeeping coach, Toni Jiminez, plays some Spanish music which is very boring for our players.
“I like it. In the moments when we are preparing, I think it’s important to be focused and the music helps them to be focused on the game.
“It’s true that half an hour before [kick-off] we stop the music - silence, that is the best music, and then we focus on the game. But I like it from the moment we arrive in the changing room.”
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