Lamela set for first Tottenham start of the season?
PUBLISHED: 12:00 18 September 2018
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Spurs will take on Inter Milan in a 5.55pm kick-off, but will be missing several key players
Spurs begin their Champions League campaign this evening with a Group B clash at Inter Milan and boss Mauricio Pochettino could turn to Erik Lamela to help his team get back on track.
After winning their opening three Premier League matches, Tottenham Hotspur have now lost their last two – 2-1 at Watford on September 2 and 2-1 against Liverpool last weekend.
It has halted their momentum and one of the only bright sparks from Saturday’s loss was the cameo display of Lamela.
The Argentinean, who struggled with a muscle problem during the first month of the season, impressed following his introduction on the hour mark.
Lamela rolled a shot wide from outside the area, set up Danny Rose for a chance and then volleyed home from a tight angle.
Minutes later he was involved in Heung-min Son’s penalty shout, but the fightback by Spurs was too little, too late.
The display of Lamela showed his quality, however, and tonight’s match in Italy, where he enjoyed success with AS Roma, seems perfect for him.
Some players Pochettino will not have at his disposal are Hugo Lloris (thigh), Dele Alli (hamstring) and Moussa Sissoko (hamstring).
The Tottenham manager has also left Kieran Trippier and Toby Alderweireld back in London despite the importance of the Champions League opener.
When quizzed about the decision in his pre-match press conference on Monday night, Pochettino replied: “It’s a technical decision.
“What does it mean? It’s a technical decision. You can look it up, find it in the dictionary. A technical decision. Tactical is on the pitch.
“Yeah, maybe tactical is outside of the pitch too. But it’s technical decision, tactical decision, it’s a decision in the end.
“You cannot bring 25 players. You can only play 11 players with seven on the bench. That is the reason.
“You are clever enough to try to understand. This is my fifth season, I never punish players because you win or lose. It’s the plan. The plan is keep them (in London) and use different players to play.
“There’s nothing behind the decision. It’s only that we’re going to play with different players. Like when you play with Toby or Kieran, it’s another player out. The best position is to play with different players.”
With Trippier and Alderweireld back in England, Serge Aurier and Davinson Sanchez should get a chance at the San Siro.
Additional reporting by Press Association Sport.