Tottenham star Erik Lamela faces tough competition from England winger Andros Townsend for a place in the club's starting lineup, according to Portuguese manager Andre Villas-Boas.
21-year-old Lamela arrived in North London from Serie A outfit AS Roma for a fee that could rise to an estimated £30 million in August but is yet to start a Premier League game for Spurs.
He completed 90 minutes for the club during the Europa League victory against Norwegian side Tromso and in the Carling Cup demolition of Paul Lambert's Aston Villa, but has so far been restricted to cameo appearances in the top-flight against Arsenal, Norwich and Cardiff. He was an unused substitute during the fiery 1-1 draw with London rivals Chelsea last weekend.
While many might be disappointed not to have seen more of the club's record signing so far this season, Villas-Boas, speaking after Spurs' 2-0 victory over troubled Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala, has insisted that he is happy with the Argentine international and that he is simply facing stern competition from in-form England man Townsend.
"I am extremely happy with what Erik has been doing,” the former Chelsea manager was quoted by talkSPORT.
“It was difficult for him because he is a player that likes to be creative, involved in short combinations and he couldn't come into the game as much as we wanted.
"They were difficult conditions [in Russia}. The pitch was awful and it was difficult for technical players to make a difference.
"We still tried to play the ball but you saw many times we lost it.
"But up until now I'm extremely happy with what he's been doing. He just faces tough competition from Andros Townsend, who has also been doing very well, for that position," he added.
Spurs, whose victory in Russia means they are top of Europa League Group K, return to domestic action on Sunday afternoon with another hotly-anticipated London derby against Sam Allardyce's West Ham at White Hart Lane.
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