‘We have to get used to it, have the right mentality to be able to play in this environment, and give our best’: Erik Lamela says Tottenham stars must change their mindset to adapt to playing in front of no supporters
- Tottenham played out a 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Friday night
- Erik Lamela admitted it was strange to play without their loyal supporters
- He says his team need to adapt as they look to earn a Champions League spot
The jury is still out on whether armchair fans prefer to watch football on TV with fake crowd noise added or not, but players have no choice and must learn to live without fans for the foreseeable future, according to Erik Lamela.
The Argentinian attacker admitted it was an eerie experience to take part in Tottenham’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United in a silent and almost empty stadium on Friday night, as the Premier League returns behind closed doors.
And with results in the Bundesliga and elsewhere suggesting home advantage is hugely diminished without home supporters, Lamela says players will have to adjust their mindset if they are to cope.
Erik Lamela’s Tottenham returned to action behind closed doors against Manchester United
‘It was strange to play with no fans,’ admitted Lamela.
‘Normally we have a full stadium with most of our fans behind us, and it is always special to play at home. But it was different tonight (Friday).’
While he was unsure whether home advantage has disappeared completely, Lamela said he and his team-mates must overcome the change in circumstances.
‘Without fans it is different. We have to get used to it, have the right mentality to be able to play in this environment, and give our best, even without fans in the stadium.’
Tottenham have eight games remaining, half of them at home, and need to make up ground on the teams above them if they are to have any chance of playing Champions League football next season.
They have won only three times in the Premier League since Boxing Day, and Lamela knows they need victories rather than draws if they are to climb the table. West Ham are the visitors on Tuesday night in what is usually a fierce London derby in front of a noisy and partisan crowd.
Steven Bergwijn’s goal was cancelled out by a Bruno Fernandes penalty as the sides drew 1-1
‘It is another opportunity to win three points and put ourselves in a better position in the table. These are all big games now. We will try to win every one of them until the end of the season.’
He still believes Spurs can make the top four. ‘We have to take it game by game but that is our plan.’
Manchester City should discover in early July if they have succeeded in their appeal to the Court for Arbitration in Sport against UEFA’s ban on them taking part in the Champions League. If not, the fifth team in the Premier League will take their place, but Lamela says Spurs cannot think about that possibility. ‘No we have to aim for the top four, and try to win every game. There are plenty of opportunities ahead.’
He believes Tottenham will be helped by the returning trio of Harry Kane, Heung Min Son and Moussa Sissoko, who have all recovered from long-term injuries but looked short of match fitness on Friday night.
Lamela says players’ mindsets needs to be adjusted playing in front of no supporters
Son Heung-min and Harry Kane’s returns could help Tottenham challenge for a top-four spot
‘I thought they did well. When you have had an injury it takes some time to get back to 100 per cent. But they gave everything.’
And he compared the first game back to the opening of a season. ‘It is difficult after two or three months without games to come back at full fitness. It is the start of a new period, like the start of a new season, and the first game back is always hard. I think everyone can do better.’
Jose Mourinho will have Dele Alli back from a one-match suspension on Tuesday, and with games coming thick and fast over the next month, is likely to shuffle his squad.
‘That is a question for the manager, not us players,’ said Lamela. ‘But everybody wants to play.’
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