Soldado vs Lamela

We have seen how Erik Lamela has struggled and a key factor is that he simply doesn't speak the language. He is in a strange land, feels alone, is unable to communicate, doesn't understand the coaching staff and has become depressed.

Soldado & Lamela struggling at Spurs
Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela are both struggling at Spurs after big money moves

Roberto Soldado was in a similar situation, except that he did speak a little English when he arrived.

Spanish paper Super Deporte recently reported that the Spaniard is having similar problems to another expensive summer signing, Argentinian Erik Lamela. It seems though that Soldado is handling the situation in a different and better manner.

Despite having enough English to get by the Spaniards failure to adapt and the fact that he hasn't settled to life in London have again been put down to the language barrier.

The attitude of the two players to the problem does seem to be at different ends of the spectrum though. One, Lamela, wants to return to Italy, is depressed and seems to have given up, whereas Soldado wants to stay and succeed.

Now I am sure Lamela is having English lessons but the fact his agent was angling for a move back to Italy, even on loan, speaks volumes. The fact Levy paid a lot of money for him means he is unlikely to leave and will have a summer to sort himself out. His attitude when he comes back from the World Cup will be important.

Roberto Soldado believes the reason he is struggling in the Premier League is partly that Andre Villas-Boas played a system that didn't suit him and partly that Tim Sherwood doesn't trust him. Sherwood it appears expects his players to understand him and that it is disruptive to coaching if time has to be taken to help players understand what he is trying to convey. Of course if he were banging in the goals it would be different.

Soldado doesn't blame Sherwood for his view, he understands and has resolved to knuckle down to change Sherwood's mind. In training the Spaniard is firing in the goals but it is frustrating for him that it is not happening on the pitch. However he is not just leaving it there, he is working hard off the pitch as well. It is encouraging to hear he is taking three English lessons a week tying to understand and speak the language more fluently.

Despite Soldado being at a low ebb and lacking any confidence at the moment he is determined to make it work and prove his worth to the club, Sherwood and the fans. That is the attitude that should encourage supporters to stay behind him. It should also be remembered that his wife suffered a miscarriage and they lost their baby which must be even harder to cope with in a foreign country.

There is no doubt Soldado can score goals and when he starts firing, which can happen in the flick of a switch, he would be an asset. He may well be the type of striker Louis Van Gaal wants. All striker have these periods and it can only take one goal to come out of it, Benteke at Aston Villa was having similar problems but one goal and more flow.

Tim Sherwood spoke before the Dnipro tie on Thursday about Soldado and assured him he would be playing.

"I sat down with him, had a chat with him and said, 'It will happen, it's a matter of time.'

"We know he's a top player. Now's the time for one to ricochet off his backside and go in the back of the net and he'll be off on a run like Emmanuel Adebayor.

"All of a sudden the confidence floods back.

"Suarez is going through one [barren spell] at the moment [1 goal in 8 games] and no-one is pointing any fingers as they are winning games.

“Have I been getting him to shoot at an open goal in training to boost his confidence? What about if he misses the goal?!" joked Tim.

"No, he's had no problem. He has to have the character and be big enough to come through that. You need personality when you are playing at White Hart Lane because it's a big stage and it always has been and I remember that as a player.

"It's a big stage and it's a very demanding crowd and rightly so and you can either play for a big club or you can't. Some of them have to still prove that they have got that character to be able to play for Tottenham.

"I always maintain these mid-table sides or bottom of the league sides, with respect to them, if you are a professional footballer you can play for them because you ain't got that added spice of the pressure.. You've got it at Tottenham. Can you handle it or not? We'll see."

That is exactly where your attitude comes in, Soldado has a few years on Lamela so perhaps his maturity is allowing him to handle the pressure better, to fight for form. If the reports of Spurs trying to offload Lamela in a swop deal for Mario Balotelli are correct then you would assume Lamela has given up and the club are seeking a solution.

I have no doubt Soldado can score goals in the Premier league, no doubt at all. Let's hope he can tuck one away and have an end of season glut, March would be good timing.

UPDATE:
Well since this article was written (prior to the Norwich City game) Soldado has knocked a first time chance away in the Europa League tie which was called offside and scored the winner against Cardiff City on Sunday, let's hope the tide has now turned for him



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