Tottenham: Is Jose Mourinho the right fit for club?
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Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has delivered a glowing assessment of winger Erik Lamela after the 28-year-old’s impressive recent performances. The Argentina international played a starring role in the Premier League victory over West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, before scoring his side’s second goal during the action-packed 5-4 defeat at Everton in Wednesday’s FA Cup clash.
Lamela has featured in all but two of Tottenham’s league matches since returning from a calf injury in December, often being selected to take up the right wing berth ahead of out-of-sorts loanee Gareth Bale.
Despite the forward catching the eye in recent outings, Spurs have lost three of their last four in the Premier League, with Mourinho eager to maintain his squad’s positive momentum after the win over West Brom.
Spurs will entertain table-toppers Manchester City on Saturday evening and are expected to face an uphill battle against the in-form title challengers.
Mourinho claimed on Friday that he would ask Lamela to start his third match in seven days against Pep Guardiola’s side, hailing his ‘chaotic’ playing style as an important quality that can win points for Spurs as they aim to achieve Champions League qualification for next season.
“I just want to confirm, a good Lamela I love,” Mourinho told reporters. “You are right. He is the kind of player that I like very much.
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“The first thing I like about him is he wants to play. He wants to assume responsibility. He never hides. He wants the ball.
“He’s a little bit sometimes chaotic, but it’s a positive reason to be chaotic because it’s, ‘I want to play, I want the ball, if the ball is not arriving to me I have to arrive to the ball’.
“I love Coco. Of course when I arrived, his history of injuries was incredibly negative. [It] was very, very, very hard. That’s the truth.
“In this moment he’s fit, but of course a player with his history, he played 90 minutes against West Brom I think [he was substituted after 74 minutes].
“Even more [against Everton], so let’s see, but honestly I’m going to ask him ‘can you play again from the start’ because if he feels he can of course I’m going to play him.”
Saturday’s opponents City have won each of their last 15 matches in all competitions, setting a new British record in the process.
The two clubs will face off in April’s Carabao Cup final at Wembley, with City aiming to win the competition for the fourth successive season.
Spurs can take comfort from knowing that they successfully got the better of Guardiola’s men three months ago, sealing a 2-0 win on home turf.
However, Mourinho is aware that a win on Sunday appears to be unlikely unless his players can sustain their very best football from the first whistle to the last.
“It’s a team that wins every match,” he said, running the rule over City. “They score a lot of goals and I don’t think they concede.
“I think they conceded three in so many matches and one of the three it was a penalty.
“I don’t see any weakness, and that’s why I was saying to win the game we need to be absolutely perfect in every aspect and in every minute, because they’re really a very, very strong team.”
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