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Erik Lamela runs at Sheriff.
Erik Lamela's showing in the Capital One Cup victory last week was the most encouraging seen by the attacker over more than a ten-minute spell since his arrival in England this past summer.
Lamela worked hard to make an impression, getting up and going at Hull repeatedly. Despite his penalty shootout miss, it was an overall effort that boded well for his progress.
Sheriff were weaker than Hull, though similarly stubborn in their initial defensive resistance. Regardless of the opposition's quality (or lack thereof), the Argentina international was clearly keen to get involved and make an impression.
Not much came off for him in the first half; though, his mazy dribbling unnerved the Transnistrian club on more than one occasion (and he was perhaps unlucky not to win a penalty). Largely, though, the crowded final third and Spurs' general struggle to find a way through made it tough going for all concerned.
Lamela's perseverance was heartening in the midst of this battle. At one point, with half hour played, he raced to close down a Sheriff player looking to emerge from his own corner. Late in the half, he almost found a way through from the left flank only to have his cross deflected onto the post.
When Lamela's goal came on the hour mark, it was just reward for his efforts and the flashes of quality that lit them up.
His attempts at a one-two with Christian Eriksen saw the ball deflected kindly back into the path of his run, allowing him to coolly tuck the ball away in the bottom corner.
Arguably more impressive was the bewitching run between challenges that led to Djibril Paye bringing him down for the penalty that Jermain Defoe would dispatch.
Lamela has taken time to settle in to England, a process that is still ongoing. Yet in his last couple of appearances, he has looked more ready than at any point this season to step up his involvement.
A Premier League start may be two or three weeks away still. Then again, the confidence gained from Thursday might be just what Lamela needed to truly find his feet.