Tottenham continue to wait on Erik Lamela’s return as the Argentine battles injury and off-field problems.
The attacking midfielder last played for the Lilywhites in October in the EFL Cup defeat to Liverpool, and has been out with a hip injury ever since.
However, as reported in the Telegraph, his recovery has been beset by numerous personal difficulties.
Lamela’s brother was involved in a serious car accident, while the player has also struggled to come to terms with the passing of his bulldog Simba.
However, the newspaper’s decision to lead with the angle that his private problems centred around the dog hasn’t gone down well with a lot of fans:
Lamela story is probably: he got injured, his brother is ill, then to top it off his pal Simba passed away. It's clearly not just the dog.
— Yidvids (@YidVids) January 23, 2017
Lamela not playing for 3 months clearly isn't just about his dog. Saying that, it's clearly also not just about his injury either
— WHLParkLane (@Craig_Spur) January 23, 2017
People will now use this dead dog excuse as a weak mentality for Lamela. 1. his brother is paralysed 2. he is injured. So sounds stupid 2bh
— Harry C (@HazSpur92) January 23, 2017
I don't believe for a second that Lamela has been away because of his dog. His brother has been really ILL apparently, so thats possible.
— Zeus #COYS (@superspurs34) January 24, 2017
Lamela isn't off because his pet died he is injured. His brother had a terrible accident maybe paralysed and the dog died alot 4 1 person
— Manush Rafatjah (@rafatjah) January 24, 2017
Matt Law, the journalist behind the story, responded:
@WindyCOYS I've had a word about the headlines, which I don't control. I think my article is fair.
— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) January 23, 2017
Lamela has also struggled with homesickness in the past and has requested to undergo the rest of the treatment for his hip in Rome, the home of his former club.
Mauricio Pochettino was happy to allow that request as he is evidently concerned about the 24-year-old’s wellbeing.
Meanwhile, the rest of Tottenham’s squad are preparing for this weekend’s FA Cup game at home to Wycombe with a training camp in Barcelona.