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Spurs’ dominance in Arsenal defeat is no consolation, says Vertonghen

Jan Vertonghen (left) tussles with Arsenal's Olivier Giroud at White Hart Lane Jan Vertonghen (left) tussles with Arsenal's Olivier Giroud at White Hart Lane

Monday, March 17, 2014
11:48 AM

Jan Vertonghen says there are few positives to be taken from yesterday’s north London derby, despite the fact that Tottenham dominated much of the game against Arsenal.

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Tomas Rosicky gave the Gunners the lead after just 71 seconds, but Arsene Wenger’s side then managed their fewest number of successful passes in a Premier League game since February 2009, and mustered just one shot in the second half.

Spurs can count themselves highly unfortunate to have lost to their arch-rivals for the third time this season.

And, having suffered heavy defeats against Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea this term, the Lilywhites put in a much-improved performance against a top-four side – but Vertonghen says that is no consolation.

“For me if we lose it’s not positive,” he said. “I think we gave everything, that’s the good thing. We stuck together, we stuck to the plan, but if you don’t score it’s not good enough - simple.

“They came here to drop and to play on the counter-attack, and if you’re 1-0 up after one minute you can play the game you want. They didn’t come here to dominate the game, they came to win, so they did their job and we didn’t.

“We had a couple of chances but in the end we didn’t create enough to score, because we didn’t, and it’s a shame.

“I’m very disappointed, I think we deserved more. We tried to do everything to come back and get a result.

“I don’t want to look at the table at the moment. I think it [the gap to the top four] will look very big so I’ll look at the table tomorrow and I can judge then.”

Tottenham have missed out on the top four on the final day of the last two seasons, but they are likely to fall well short this time.

Asked why the gap has widened, Vertonghen replied: “That’s a difficult one, it’s very hard. I think the top four is stronger than last year - all four of them - and we’ve stuck to the same level. We didn’t improve on last year.

“What needs to happen now? That’s something for the chairman and for the manager, I can’t say that. I think we have the players to achieve the Champions League, so I hope we can achieve it next year.”

Spurs now appear to be playing for a Europa League spot – a questionable prize given the impact it has arguably had on their league form in recent seasons.

Asked if it is a battle worth winning, Vertonghen said: “I’ll try to do anything until the end of the season for this club. It’s an unbelievable club and I’m happy to play here so I’ll leave it at that.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

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