Tottenham Hotspur could be without winger Erik Lamela for the Europa League's final-32 second leg against Fiorentina after missing a second game in a row, against Crystal Palace, due to illness. The Argentina international sat out a draw in Florence and an FA Cup home defeat to the Eagles due to being sick, and is to be assessed before a decision is taken over his participation in the Fiorentina clash on Thursday (25 February).
The 23 year old has enjoyed the most fruitful campaign of his Spurs career so far this season, making 35 appearances in all competitions, scoring 13 goals and making five assists. After making a slow start to his career in north London, Lamela has now cemented himself as a key component of Mauricio Pochettino's side.
Lamela laid on the crucial pass that led to Christian Eriksen helping Tottenham retake the lead in the crucial win at Manchester City, but at present, that assist represents his last contribution this season. The former Roma man has missed the last two games and could now be set for an extended spell on the sidelines. Mousa Dembele is already a doubt after going off with a groin problem during the Palace defeat.
"He was back home because he is ill," said Pochettino, according to London 24. "He was sick and he started to feel bad before the game against Fiorentina. He was out of the squad and today he was out too because he is still sick. We will have to see more of him and we will see."
Martin Kelly scored his first goal for four years to end Tottenham's hopes of repeating their league and cup double from 1961 and brought to an end an unbeaten run in all competitions stretching back to October. The north Londoners spurned several chances to clinch a replay in the second half and Pochettino believes his side deserved better.
"We're very disappointed," he told the official Tottenham website. "The result was negative but we're disappointed because when you play badly, you don't deserve anything but we were unlucky and deserved more. This can happen in football. We created the better chances, dominated the game and if we'd managed to go ahead it would have been a different game. At the end when you assess the game, we deserved more but we were unlucky and when you play a lot of matches sometimes it's difficult to win every game. The effort was good again but this time with a different result.
"Now we have another final on Thursday in the Europa League, a different competition and a very tough game again. We are in a period now where it's impossible to rest so we need to be focused every day and ready to compete on Thursday."