Erik Lamela has revealed his fitness is being carefully managed, admitting he may not be able to play every game of Tottenham’s busy autumn schedule.
The Argentinian scored his fifth goal of the season in his first Premier League start of the campaign against West Ham United on Saturday.
He has arguably been Spurs’ best player so far this term, but Lamela has not been able to start often because of his ongoing recovery from a 13-month injury lay-off.
A chronic hip problem means Mauricio Pochettino has been forced to manage his countryman’s game time with caution.
And Lamela has admitted he still isn’t able to go 100 per cent in training in order to save himself for matches.
“I don’t know [if I can play every game]. This is a question for the manager and the staff,” Lamela said after Saturday’s London derby victory (via the London Evening Standard).
“They know how to manage me after a lot of time together. Sometimes I cannot go 80 per cent, even in training. I feel crazy sometimes but it’s like this.
“I try to train hard but to arrive to the game in a good condition and take care of myself. Normally we train really hard but I want to play the games — it’s more important than training.
“This is what we’re doing now and the manager and the staff, they take care of me and all the team.
“My feeling now is good, my hips are feeling better. When you’re injured it’s hard, when you come back, too, because [you’re trying to] feel well like before. But now I’m happy with my feeling on the pitch and my place in the team. I feel very good with my team-mates.”
Tottenham face PSV Eindhoven in a crucial Champions League clash on Wednesday before a run of four games in nine days, which includes matches against Manchester City and West Ham.
Spurs will need Lamela fit for most of those matches, although his workload can be lightened thanks to the return of Christian Eriksen.