Europa League: Tottenham's Erik Lamela pleases Andre Villas-Boas
Erik Lamela's first goal for Tottenham will boost the confidence of the club's record signing, says Andre Villas-Boas.
The Argentina winger scored the opener and then won a penalty as Spurs beat Sherriff Tiraspol 2-1 to reach the Europa League knockout stages.
Jermain Defoe scored from the spot to pass Martin Chivers and become Spurs' record European goalscorer on 23.
"We had been waiting for Lamela to have a game like this," said Villas-Boas. "Hopefully he can now progress."
Lamela's life in football
- Born on 4 March, 1992 in Buenos Aires
- Came through ranks at Argentine side River Plate
- Moved to Roma in summer of 2011 before making 67 appearances and scoring 21 goals for the Serie A side
- Capped four times by Argentina at Under-20 level, he made his full international debut in May, 2011 against Paraguay
- Joined Tottenham on 30 August 2013
The 21-year-old moved to north London from Roma for £25.7m in the summer, however, despite his substantial fee, Lamela is yet to start a Premier League game, with the emergence of England winger Andros Townsend providing additional competition for a starting role.
A well-crafted assist from Lamela allowed Paulinho to score a late winner at Cardiff City earlier in the season, but the former River Plate player delivered a telling contribution throughout his fourth Europa League appearance for his new club.
His left-footed strike gave Spurs the lead on the hour and when his solo run drew a foul from Djibril Paye, Defoe secured Tottenham's progress from Group K with a penalty.
Villas-Boas added: "He is very creative and has no fear to take on his man and beat him. [Scoring] can only help in his confidence."
The Portuguese also paid tribute to Defoe and said: "We are all particularly happy for him. It is a great honour and will stay in time like Martin's and will be very difficult to break.
"I hope it means this club will continue on this competition in to the later stages to make it even more prestigious for him."