Erik Lamela made his long-awaited return to first-team action on Tuesday night as Tottenham Hotspur were beaten 2-1 at Leicester City in the Premier League.
The Argentine has been absent for over a year with a hip problem but impressed in a late cameo at the King Power Stadium, marking his display with an assist.
Having been on the pitch for a matter of minutes, Lamela slipped in England striker Harry Kane to emphatically convert the final goal of a game that left the watching Spurs faithful frustrated by a number of missed opportunities.
The Lilywhites have hit a poor run of domestic form over recent weeks, with defeat to rivals Arsenal followed by a draw at Wembley against West Bromwich Albion over the weekend.
With that in mind it was imperative that Mauricio Pochettino’s men came away from Leicester with a win, but they were left to reflect on another disjointed performance and a severe lack of clinical finishing.
Jamie Vardy gave the Foxes the lead early on, latching onto Marc Albrighton’s cross to lift a delightful first-time lob over the onrushing Hugo Lloris.
Then, with half-time looming, Riyad Mahrez curled in an unstoppable left-footed effort from the edge of the area to give the home side a two-goal advantage at the break.
Kane’s late strike came in between gilt-edged opportunities for Christian Eriksen and Fernando Llorente, who both contrived to miss the target when presented with the ball inside Leicester’s six-yard box.
Overall it was another disappointing watch for Tottenham fans, who have seen their team’s slim title hopes all but extinguished over the past few weeks.
The one bright spark was Lamela’s cameo, which left many supporters on Twitter calling for the winger to be amongst the starting XI when the North Londoners travel to Watford on Saturday afternoon.
The best of the reaction can be found below:
— Marc Edwards (@MarcEdwards80) November 28, 2017
We created chances but for some weird reason could not score. And it is not the first game that happened. What did we do to be cursed like that? I don’t know, but it hurts.
On the other hand Lamela is back and I love it. #COYS
— Mumko (@bghotspur) November 29, 2017
Gotta hold my hand up 🤚🏻 I said for a while Lamela wouldn’t be seen playing for spurs again, he came back last night & got an assist, the only positive from last night #COYS
— Cockney Yid (@yorkshirespurs) November 29, 2017
Was fantastic to see Lamela back last night, not only that but looked sharp as a razor, no rustiness at all, immediately made a difference in the game when he came on, beautiful assist for Kane’s goal as well, if he stays fit the rest of the season, he can play a huge role #COYS
— Ben Boorman (@benspurs21) November 29, 2017
Disappointed with yesterdays result @SpursOfficial I feel we had enough chances to win the game and certainly to get a vital point away from home. Positives… at least we were getting into positions to score the goals we desired & Lamela is back! Moving on #Sighs #COYS pic.twitter.com/qB2FB5vjIF
— Marlon The Writer (@Brother_Marlon) November 29, 2017
This is the worst I’ve seen Eriksen play in years. Pretty evident that the squad is overexerted. Alderweireld’s absence is so evident. Positive was good to see Lamela back and assisting our only goal of the game. #Coys
— Mrugen Modi (@modmnms) November 29, 2017
— Gregor Park (@Gregor_Park) November 29, 2017
Lamela was on the pitch for a minute and gets an immediate impact. Every Lamela hater can suck it. #COYS
— ⚪️💙Willie💙⚪️ (@factNnonfiction) November 29, 2017
Tottenham with another trash result. No finishing, no chemistry… I'm not sold on Llorente at all tbh…Need some movement in January. At least Lamela is back. Now we just need Alderwerield and a strong holiday run #COYS #THFC
— Derek (@DeeJNeezy) November 29, 2017
Lamela appearing properly made my birthday
— brandon. (@CoysLad) November 29, 2017
Was very refreshing to see lamela play again for us. I've always, ALWAYS been a massive fan of him because he takes risks in the final third, isn't afraid to get on the ball and takes his man on #coys #Lamela #OnToTheNextOne 🇦🇷💙 pic.twitter.com/BL0VXaFISm
— Ross Norsworthy (@rossnorsworthy1) November 29, 2017
Hopefully lamela returning will lift us up going forward. Need to sort out the problems now. Let's start off right this weekend by playing a back 4 and then dier, winks, lamela, eriksen, alli, kane. COYS
— Jack (@coysjaack) November 29, 2017
As soon as Aurier was penalised for a foul throw I knew we'd lost … Oh well, that's football. The resurrection of Lamela is better than that of Gandalf's. #COYS
— Luke Williams (@LukeADWilliams) November 28, 2017
Despite the loss, I'm really excited that Lamela is back #COYS
— Azza (@BlueSpur86) November 28, 2017
Lamela a breath of fresh air
— Callum (@CallumCOYS) November 28, 2017