"It was a very emotional night," Erik Lamela told UEFA.com after inspiring Tottenham Hotspur FC past FC Sheriff and into the last 32 with his first goal for the club and an assist.
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Erik Lamela was the name on everyone's lips at White Hart Lane after the Tottenham Hotspur FC forward scored his first goal for the club and won a penalty as they beat FC Sheriff 2-1 to book a place in the UEFA Europa League last 32. Indeed, the Argentinian international, who signed in the summer from AS Roma, told UEFA.com "it was a very emotional evening" and how he is spurred on by what compatriots Ricky Villa and Ossie Ardilles achieved at the north London outfit in the late 1970s and 1980s.
Gylfi Sigurdsson and Younès Kaboul joined Christian Eriksen in singing Lamela's praises, with Eriksen telling UEFA.com "he's great to play with". Meanwhile, Sheriff goalkeeper Vjekoslav Tomić saw cause for optimism after a good performance and looked to get back to winning ways in the remaining two Group K games.
Erik Lamela, Tottenham forward
It was a very emotional evening because I scored my first goal. I'm very happy about that and very happy that we won as well. We have a very strong squad and it is very competitive. We always want to do well in all the tournaments we play in. All our players are strong, whatever their position, and [on the right wing] there are two or three players who know the position well. That means there is a lot of competition and we have to keep on improving. I heard all about what those two [Ricky Villa and Ossie Ardilles] did and it is really inspirational for me. Everyone knows what they did here.
Christian Eriksen, Tottenham midfielder
Erik [Lamela] is seeing his confidence come back, he was impressive and he's great to play with. Our performance as a team could have been much better. We played against a very defensive side but we tried [to break them down]. We wanted to go through as soon as possible and we've achieved that but of course we still want to win our remaining games. It's a competition we want to win. I'm still trying to get used to everyone and everything [at Tottenham]. I think I started really well at the club but after that it went a little bit down. Now I'm just trying to find space and develop more.
Gylfi Sigurdsson, Tottenham midfielder
It was just about getting the job done. They had a lot of people behind the ball and sat just outside their box but as soon as we got the goal we felt comfortable and they lost their way. I think their goal towards the end was very unnecessary on our part. Lamela was fantastic today, he looked really good. I'm thrilled for him that he got his goal and obviously he won the penalty as well. It was one of those days where it just worked out for him. Hopefully he can continue doing that.
Younès Kaboul, Tottenham defender
At White Hart Lane we've got an amazing atmosphere at each game, especially in Europe because there is a different motivation. I'm happy to have a crowd like we do in Europe. The crowd are the 12th man. It's important for the players to be pushed by the fans all game. That win puts us in a very comfortable position. I'm very happy with the performance, it was not easy but we did the job. [Lamela] did very well. He is fighting every day in training to get into the team and tonight he was incredible. He showed his class like he does every day in training.
Vjekoslav Tomić, Sheriff goalkeeper
We know Tottenham wanted to take control of the game, but that if they didn't score in the first 30 minutes then they would get nervous. In the first half we defended well and kept it at 0-0 but in the second half we made a couple of mistakes in defence and they scored the opening goal and then the penalty. It's not easy to play against Tottenham when they are 2-0 ahead.
Before the game we knew we wouldn't have many chances because they are a better team than us. We have games left against teams who are a similar level to us, so we will try to take some points from them. I played well today and was happy with the save [from Christian Eriksen's shot in the second half] but we lost. I would rather concede three goals and draw 3-3.