Erik Lamela’s hattrick in the first half helped Tottenham Hotspur top their group and qualify to the next round of the Europa league, as Mauricio Pochettino’s men knocked off Monaco with a comprehensive 4-1 victory. Pochettino heaped praise on hattrick hero Lamela and admitted he was proud of his side’s professional display.
It took Lamela just 37 minutes to get his hattrick and Tim Carroll added a late fourth goal to seal the deal. Stephan El Shaarawy scored a consolation for the visitors in the second half.
Lamela a different player
Eric Lamela arrived at Tottenham Hotspur in 2013 as a highly rated young talent, but did little to prove his worth in his first two seasons. But the A?26m signing from Roma seems a different man this season and Mauricio Pochettino admits Erik Lamela is unrecognisable from the player he was two years ago, as the Argentine continues his resurgence.
“It is true that today he is more confident and looks a different player from two years ago,” Pochettino said.
“There are always a lot of reasons for the improvement of a player. First of all, a young player like Lamela has arrived at a new country. He is a very special boy but he needed time to adapt and not only on the pitch.
“When you score a hat trick you don’t have to say anything more because it was great for him and great for the team. It helped the team to finish at the top.
“Lamela has not surprised me, he is a great talent and okay, you always need a little bit of luck to score but he scored three goals and its normal that he deserves all the praise and the headlines. That is football.”
Proud of his team
Tottenham were always in control of the game in what was a clinical performance by the North Londoners and the Spurs manager was understandably proud of his team after a professional display.
“I’m very happy. Job done and we are first in the group. I’m proud of them and we show we have a very strong squad,” Pochettino told the club’s official website. “The mentality was great. We showed a winning mentality and we need to keep this for the whole season.”
In a good position going into next round
With qualification already secured, Pochettino used this match as an opportunity to test the depth of his squad. Tottenham were without the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen and the gamble paid off as Spurs produced a powerful performance.
By finishing top of the group, Tottenham will avoid the best teams in the next round of the Europa league, particularly the teams that drop from the Champions League.
Tottenham are next in action on Sunday where they face Newcastle United in the Premier league.