sport

Lamela earns Pochettino praise

Mauricio Pochettino hailed the impact of Erik Lamela as he stepped off the bench to inspire Tottenham Hotspur to a 2-1 win at AEL Limassol.

Spurs' record signing has struggled to justify a 30million price tag throughout his 12 months in England, with injuries and a dip in form seeing him fail to sparkle.

The Argentine was, however, at his creative best in Cyprus on Thursday after being handed an 18-minute run-out.

He entered a Europa League playoff with Tottenham trailing 1-0, but conjured up two assists in the space of six second-half minutes for Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane to turn the tie on its head.

Pochettino said afterwards of the 22-year-old and his impact: "It is never easy in the first season for a player from another country. It is true that it was difficult for him.

"He was injured, too, and we are confident with him that with time and hard work, like he has done in pre-season, that he can go far.

"He was very disappointed about last season but the past is the past.

"We need him to look forward, believe in his skill and condition and work very, very hard. With confidence and time he will show his value.

"You always nominate players on the bench who can have an impact and all three subs had an impact on the game."

Pochettino was also quick to praise the effort of his squad as a whole after they overcame humid conditions and a testing playing surface to seal an 'important' success on the road.

He added: "I think it was a very tough game a difficult game, a hard game because he conditions were difficult and the weather was difficult.

"I'm happy with the performance. In the end 2-1 for us is an important result for us.

"It is true that in the first half we started to make mistakes, but in general, I am happy and looking forward to the next game, on Sunday.

"We created two or three chances in the first seven minutes. I think it's true that we believed that it would be an easy game, but we knew when we watched their game against Zenit - Limassol won the game won 1-0 - that they have a very good team.

"In the second half we started the game, I think we restarted the game in the second half and I'm very satisfied after the game."