Belfast Telegraph

Poch hails match-winner Lamela

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino believes Erik Lamela's match-winning goal against Burnley will do wonders for the winger's confidence this season.

Lamela's long-range strike in the 35th minute proved the difference at White Hart Lane as Spurs beat the Clarets 2-1 and climbed to sixth in the Barclays Premier League table.

It was a first league goal for the 22-year-old, who has struggled to adjust to the pace of English football since his £26million move to north London in August 2013.

"He is very happy because it is his first (league) goal and we are very happy too because it helped the team get the three points," Pochettino said.

"It is important for him. We need to understand Erik is still young, he has a big talent but it was difficult his first season in England.

"This season he is fit - in the beginning it wasn't easy for him to play but he just needed time.

"Today was great for him because he needs to build his confidence, to be more strong and when we saw his performance today he is happy because it is another step in the right direction."

A combination of injuries and poor form saw Lamela start just nine league games last season but the Argentine is showing signs of rejuvenation this term under Pochettino.

Lamela posed a constant threat against Burnley with his weaving runs forward and he was also defensively diligent, fighting to win the ball back for his team in midfield.

Pochettino insists there has been no magic formula behind the youngster's improvement other than support and time.

"It is the club, it is not only me who gives him the tools to improve his performance," Pochettino said.

"It is our results too and the club who give him the chance to work in the best condition and try always to help him."

Pochettino added: "Last season was very difficult for him - his injury, he didn't play so much and getting used to a different culture and language.

"You need time to adapt to a new club and culture. He is very, very strong and he needs to keep going. We are very happy."

Lamela's strike earned Tottenham their third consecutive victory after Ashley Barnes had earlier cancelled out Harry Kane's opener.

The only headache for Pochettino was an injury to Ryan Mason, who hobbled off with a twisted ankle in the second half although t he Spurs boss said afterwards the injury "didn't look too bad".

Defeat for Burnley means Sean Dyche's side slip back into the bottom three ahead of a tough festive period that includes games against Liverpool and Manchester City.

The visitors were second best at White Hart Lane but the Clarets could have snatched a point had they been more clinical in front of goal.

"I believe in my players wholeheartedly and there were great signs for what we're trying to achieve today," Dyche said.

"We've come to White Hart Lane, everyone knows the money they've spent on the players and the quality they have.

"Everyone knows they're a side who are beginning to find some results under the new manager.

"It's not an easy task but I thought the way we went about it was first class.

"We worked the keeper on a number of occasions and late in the game we were still trying to find a way to win the game."

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