Mauricio Pochettino predicts 'key season' for Erik Lamela, explains reason why

Mauricio Pochettino believes this is a 'key season' for Erik Lamela.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has told the Daily Mirror that this is a 'key season' for White Hart Lane misfit Erik Lamela.

Lamela, 23, joined Spurs from Roma back in 2013, and having smashed 21 goals in 67 games for the Italian giants, there was plenty of excitement when he arrived as Gareth Bale's replacement.

However, the Argentine international has struggled to live up to his billing so far, scoring only six goals in 59 games for Spurs, frustrating fans on a regular basis due to his fleeting moments of brilliance surrounded by mostly underwhelming contributions.

This season, Lamela has largely been on the fringes of the Spurs side, and fans expected him to be pushed further down the pecking order following the arrival of South Korean international Son Heung-min from Bayer Leverkusen last month.

Yet, once again, Lamela showed a glimpse of what he can do with a fine assist for Ryan Mason's winning goal in the 1-0 win over Sunderland on Sunday.

Now, ahead of Thursday's Europa League clash with Qarabag, manager Pochettino has told The Mirror that this is a 'key season' for Lamela - and after two years at Tottenham, he must begin to show why Spurs purchased him back in 2013.

"I think this is a key season for him," said Pochettino. "After two seasons at Tottenham, now is the moment for him. Not to put pressure, but it’s true, it’s a key moment for him to develop and to move on his game. It’s important."

"We believe we can develop his game and I think we need to be patient with him. It’s true, now is the third season here, but we believe in him and we want to give the opportunity to show his value," he added.

Lamela must now make those moments of brilliance more regular, and Pochettino's comments suggest that the winger could be drinking in the last chance saloon at White Hart Lane - meaning he must take his chances when they come to him.

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