Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino claims the club "have missed a player like" Victor Wanyama as the midfield man gets ready to return to action.
Wanyama has emerged as a key player for the club since joining from Southampton in the 2016 summer transfer window. Having helped the north London side to a second place finish last season, the 26-year-old was seen as a vital cog should Spurs go on to the next level.
Since then, they have been on an inconsistent run in the Premier League as they current sit in seventh place, already 21 points adrift of league leaders Manchester City.
While Wanyama will not be back in time for the club's visit to high-flying sixth place Burnley on Saturday (23 December), Pochettino is hopeful he will be back soon and play an important role over the busy festive period.
"We need to see how he reacts, his knee," Pochettino said via FourFourTwo. "But it's a very good feeling from him. We will see when he can be involved again. Last season, he was such an important player for us.
"And this season, it's true. In a position that you need to be strong, we have missed a player like him. It will be fantastic if, as soon as possible, he can be again involved and available to be selected because he is a very good player; a very important player for us."
Tottenham assistant Jesus Perez added how Wanyama's knee problems stemmed from pre-season before ultimately ruling him out for the first half of the 2017/18 season.
"During pre-season, on the same day, he had two incidents," Perez explained. "And he carried on training. Then, we went to America and he played some minutes against PSG [in a friendly] and then we protected him until the second game of the season against Chelsea.
"And he had a bad reaction from that game. We tried all the conservative measures to avoid anything major [such as an operation] and, so far, it has worked well. And he has reacted very well to the last couple of training sessions."