Premier League round-up: Erik Lamela's winner may prove key to unlock 'big talent'

Argentine ace scored in the league for first time against Burnley

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The Independent Football

Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, 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 on Saturday as Spurs won 2-1 to make it three victories on the trot. It was a first league goal for Lamela, who has struggled to adjust to the pace of English football since his £26m move from Roma 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 his first season in England was difficult.

“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.”

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 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.

 

Two points below Burnley are Hull, with things looking increasingly bleak for Steve Bruce’s side after Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Swansea, Ki Sung-yueng getting the visitors’ goal.

Hull are winless in 10 matches and have not scored in seven of those. They are also battling a player shortage, with Jake Livermore’s fifth yellow card ruling him out of the Boxing Day trip to Sunderland and defenders Curtis Davies and Alex Bruce limping off.

With Michael Dawson, Mohamed Diamé and Tom Huddlestone already sitting out, Bruce is without a handful of senior men.

“Today just highlighted for me the need for your big players,” he said.

“I still expect a better performance than we witnessed in the second half but we’re crying out for some of our bigger players. Whether it’s injuries or suspensions we couldn’t cope without them.

“You need your big established Premier League players and far too many of ours are sitting in the stands.”

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