Andre Villas-Boas has said that he is "extremely happy" with how Erik Lamela has settled at Tottenham Hotspur, but has insisted that the club's record signing faces stern competition in the shape of Andros Townsend.
Spurs bought Lamela from Roma for £30m in the summer, but the Argentine has yet to start a Premier League game, with Townsend being preferred on the right wing and playing himself into the England squad with his performances.
Lamela's starting opportunities have been limited to cup competitions, including Tottenham's 2-0 Europa League victory over Anzhi Makhachkala in Moscow on Thursday, but Villas-Boas has hinted that it is a case of Townsend keeping the winger on the bench, rather than the 21-year-old not impressing.
"I am extremely happy with what Erik has been doing," talkSPORT quotes him as saying. "It was difficult for him because he is a player that likes to be creative, involved in short combinations and he couldn't come into the game as much as we wanted.
"They were difficult conditions [in Russia}. The pitch was awful and it was difficult for technical players to make a difference. We still tried to play the ball but you saw many times we lost it.
"But up until now I'm extremely happy with what he's been doing. He just faces tough competition from Andros Townsend, who has also been doing very well, for that position."
Townsend is expected to start for Spurs in their London derby against West Ham United on Sunday.