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Lamela happy at Spurs amid Inter links

10:59 pm AEDT 6/2/18
Erik Lamela Tottenham
The 25-year-old had offers to leave Spurs for Serie A in January but says his loyalty is with the north London club and their manager

Tottenham winger Erik Lamela insists he is not thinking about a return to Italy, claiming that he now loves living in London after initial concerns.

The 25-year-old originally struggled to settle in the capital following his £26 million move from Roma in 2013 before establishing himself as a first-team regular under Mauricio Pochettino. 

Lamela then spent over a year on the sidelines because of a reoccurring hip injury and has returned to fitness to find playing time at Spurs limited. 

A loan move to Southampton was said to be close during the January transfer window, while a host of Serie A clubs including Inter also claimed an interest, only for Lamela to commit to Tottenham for the remainder of the 2017-18 campaign.

And, though Lamela admits he had thought about leaving England previously, his loyalty now firmly sits with Spurs as they look to secure a top-four finish in the second half of the season.

"There's never been anything with the Bianconeri. Inter? I only think about the club I'm at, and I am very good here at Tottenham," Lamela told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "The club is getting better and better, and I love living in London.

"Pochettino is from Argentina like me and he knows that it is not easy for a young player to settle in quickly in a completely different culture.

"At the beginning I had many problems with the language, injuries and different football.

"After the first season many people told me to leave England, but I didn't want to give up, it was a challenge.

"Now I'm still here, so I made the right choice."

Lamela was used as a substitute during the latter stages of Tottenham's 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Sunday, one of his 13 bit-part appearances during the current season.

An injury-time goal from Harry Kane secured a point for Pochettino's side just moments after Mohamed Salah had put the hosts 2-1 ahead in the 91st minute at Anfield, and Lamela believes Spurs can use the result as motivation ahead of their upcoming Champions League tie against Juventus 

"I am optimistic about the game, I think we can do it," he added. "Details will be fundamental in getting qualification.

"Juventus are a very strong team, they have played two Champions League finals in the last three campaigns, but we are a strong side too.

"The draw against Liverpool can give us a boost."