Tottenham Hotspur head coach Mauricio Pochettino has acknowledged that Erik Lamela came through an important stage of his comeback against Brighton & Hove Albion in midweek.
After over a year out with a hip injury, Lamela started his first senior fixture since October 21 and came through unscathed before being withdrawn 16 minutes from time.
Pochettino has admitted that Lamela was fatigued after the game, but claimed that the Argentine needed to experience a longer spell on the pitch.
The 45-year-old told reporters: "It was so important feel from the beginning to start to play 70 minutes. It's true that after the game he was so tired. It's not the same to play 20 or 25 minutes. It's good because he needs to adapt again his body to the competition.
"Everything changes when you compete. It's not the same 70 minute training as 70 minute competing. We are so happy with his evolution. He's happy because he's feeling better and better.
"Of course he will be so important for the rest of the season, so important for the team for the rest of the season."
Lamela is likely to return to the bench when Spurs face Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening.