Lamela on fitness hopes and Lo Celso
Fri 17 January 2020, 11:44|Tottenham Hotspur
Erik Lamela has one wish - to stay fit for the rest of the season.
The all-action attacker started his first game since October and first under the leadership of Jose Mourinho and marked it with a goal in Tuesday night’s FA Cup replay win against Middlesbrough. That was the first time Erik started alongside fellow Argentine Giovani Lo Celso and the pair shone in a dominant first half.
Erik chalked up his 200th appearance when he lined-up against Red Star in the Champions League on 22 October. He scored that night as well but typical of his luck, he was then ruled out until December with a hamstring injury.
Jose was impressed when Erik told him he was ready to play against Brighton on Boxing Day after just returning from that spell on the sidelines. “I like him a lot,” he told us after Erik’s display against Middlesbrough.
“I’m the type of player who doesn’t want to miss a game,” said Erik. “At that moment, we needed players and I really wanted to play, even if it was only after training once or twice with the team, I wanted to play.
“I love football and I always want to play. The most important thing now is to stay fit. For me, everything changes when you are fit, you can show more on the pitch, every player wants minutes. I’m happy after Middlesbrough, I played 90, I finished well and now I carry on.”
After impressive cameos off the bench against Boro and Liverpool, Erik was delighted to see Gio start and score inside two minutes in the replay.
“Gio is doing well in the last few games, I’m happy for him,” he added. “On the pitch, we always try to look for combinations, not only together, but with all the attacking players. It’s good to play with him. We both scored, we won, this is very good for us. I’ve known him a long time, his style and how he plays, so, for me, it’s not like a new player. I enjoy playing with him.”
Having moved from Argentina to Italy aged just 19 and onto Spurs at 21, Erik knows exactly what Gio is going through in terms of transition, both on and off the pitch, after his journey to England from Argentina via France and Spain.
“It’s hard, a big change in all aspects, not just football, everything, language, new country, everything in life,” explained Erik. “I’m trying to help him every day. I’m sure it’s good for him to have me around and other team-mates who help him. He will do well.”