Spurs' record signing is struggling to settle into life at White Hart Lane but his manager has flatly rejected claims the Argentina midfielder - a club-record £30m summer recruit - is homesick.
Ahead of the Saturday Night Football clash at Sunderland, Villas-Boas said: "We need to be a little bit patient with him, not speaking the language, it's very difficult.
"Not only that but coming from a completely different social background. Imagine moving from Roma to Tottenham, it's a difficult step for him.
"So we need to give him the chance to break into the team and I think eventually, when a game goes fully his way for 90 minutes, we can have him to the level he can achieve.
"We've been very careful with him and given him our full support. It's a heavy price tag, a price tag that was deserved for what he did at Roma, but I think he still needs time.
"It took him about six months to settle in Roma. Also position-wise, he started out on the left there, then had a wonderful season on the right.
"At the moment on the right is not going well for him so he shifted back to the left and I think that will come good."
Portuguese boss Villas-Boas now hopes a revival in Tottenham's on-field fortunes can help Lamela.
He said: "Rome is totally different from London. The social life and the warmth of the fans is felt in a different way.
"I'm not saying he's homesick, it's just a massive change of social life, of not speaking the language.
"It's a question of nurturing them. Some settle straight away, others take more time. He has all the technical abilities that we see from a great player."