A language barrier and the time it takes to adjust to a new footballing culture are two reasons why expensive summer recruit Erik Lamela, bought from AS Roma for £30m during the concluding days of the transfer window, is having trouble justifying his price-tag.
'I think getting acquainted to the Premier League is important but he doesn't know the language,' said Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas in defence of his under-performing forward. Speaking to The Independent, AVB continued: '[Roberto] Soldado had some knowledge of the language before so it was a little bit easier for him.
'With Erik it was a little bit more difficult. He knows he isn't producing half of what he can produce but he understands the situation now is that he has to compete for his place.'
The Argentine has been largely restricted to cameo appearances in the Lilywhite shirt this semester. He has four appearances in the Premier League on his ledger so far, but in terms of minutes played, has participated in just 68 - all of which arrived after coming off from the bench.
He has completed a hair under 80% of his passes, has attempted just one shot (which found the target), has created two chances (one of which turned into an assist) but has been unsuccessful in all six of his attempted crosses.
Lamela is capable of eyebrow-raising form even if he is yet to display it on English turf as, just last season he returned 15 goals in 33 Serie A performances with Roma. He was in Italy for just a brace of seasons, between 19 and 21 years old, but still managed to score 21 goals and provide 12 assists in 66 appearances in all competitions.
Regardless of his substandard showings in the 2013 to date, AVB is confident the player can turn it around and has provided him the support necessary: 'We have given him massive, massive help and his family arrived this week.'
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