Erik Lamela’s Tottenham performance: A small but not insignificant victory 4

Most Tottenham fans will have really enjoyed Erik Lamela’s performance at White Hart Lane yesterday.  There are some, however, who decided some time ago that the Argentine is not worth persevering with and and who, subsequently, are now very dismissive towards any evidence of form shown by the player.

Nobody contests that Lamela has struggled in England and, equally, nobody is pretending that one game against Burnley represents a coming of age moment, but it’s a bit contrary to ignore the talent that he so obviously possesses.  Similarly, the mindset that he’ll never be a credible Spurs player and that he should be sold without further delay is really just a symptom of modern short-termism.

There’s no need to exaggerate the importance of a game against a relatively poor Premier League team, but where’s the harm in recognising Lamela’s contribution on Saturday as being the baby-step forward that it was?  Why does such a positive performance have to be immediately and aggressively asterisked with the ‘it’s only Burnley’ riposte?

Erik Lamela: Distribution vs Burnley (3 chances created).

Erik Lamela: Distribution vs Burnley (3 chances created).

Lamela is a £33m footballer and he was bought to be a difference-maker in marquee, top-of-the-table games, but match-winning performances against lesser sides are part of building towards that - they are not irrelevant.

Erik Lamela: Interceptions vs Burnley.

Erik Lamela: Interceptions vs Burnley.

The areas he needs to improve in are all very apparent; he continues to be a bit of a liability defensively and, of course, he’s still too self-indulgent on the ball, but some of the negativity around him is more stubborn than it is fair.   Some have been so big, bold and premature with their dismissive opinions in the past, that they would really rather be proven right than see him succeed.

That’s very sad.  Frustration is understandable and even irritation is fair, but relentless negativity - even when he does play well - is rather contrived.

If you’re waiting for a ‘Eureka’ moment with Lamela - a single game in which he conclusively proves to you that he’s a capable player - then you’re going to be disappointed.  With someone like this, development is subtle rather than dramatic and, with that in mind, it’s worth celebrating these small victories and reacting positively to the good moments that he does have.

Yes, ‘it was only Burnley’, but it was also one of his best performances for the club and his goal was the difference between three points and one.  Nobody should go wild and Lamela still has a lot of imperfections to eradicate, but there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging improvement.

(Graphics via Squawka)

For Squawka: Why Michael Carrick is the most polarising player in English football.

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