Spurs boss Pochettino hails Lamela after Europa win

Erik Lamela is back in the first-team. Photo: PA

Erik Lamela's inspired introduction put Tottenham in the driving seat against AEL Limassol.

It had looked for a long time like Spurs would flounder in the first leg of their play-off in Cyprus, where a bobbly, cut-up pitch was compounded by temperatures in the 30s and a spirited display from their opponents.

Adrian Sardinero pounced against out-of-sorts Spurs to give AEL a lead they looked likely to take to White Hart Lane next week until Lamela was thrown on after 72 minutes.

It proved a superb alteration as within six minutes of his introduction not only had he provided the assist for Roberto Soldado's exquisite first-time leveller but he went on to set-up Harry Kane to secure an unlikely 2-1 win.

Many had written off Lamela after an injury-disrupted first season at Spurs in which he managed a measly three league starts.

It was miserable start to life at White Hart Lane for the man billed as Gareth Bale's heir, but there are at last signs that the Argentinian could fulfil his potential with the north Londoners.

"It is never easy in the first season for a player from another country," manager Mauricio Pochettino said of his compatriot. "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."