Lamela and I joke about River Plate rumours - Pochettino

Updated: 

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino says he jokes with Erik Lamela about speculation linking him with a move back to River Plate.

The winger started his career at River and has been linked with a return having not played for Spurs since October due to a serious hip injury.

Pochettino has previously voiced concern over Lamela's mentality while he recovers, but now insists his player is fully committed to Tottenham and returning to full fitness. 

"We were joking that there were some rumours about him going back to River," said the Spurs manager.

"I asked him if he wanted to go back and he said, 'I want to play here, I want to play in Tottenham, I want to play for this club, I want to be in England and I want to play football'.

"All negative things you can turn positive and for me that is key. 

"We were talking and he was very positive. Now he is very focused on his recovery and to be available as soon as possible. 

"That is a massive improvement and a big power because you are capable of everything if you believe and you are focused on recovering from your problem."

Tottenham host Middlesbrough in the Premier League on Saturday.