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It’s vital that Spurs are beating rivals like Everton now, says Vertonghen

12:30 10 February 2014

Jan Vertonghen (right) in action against his countryman Kevin Mirallas of Everton

Jan Vertonghen (right) in action against his countryman Kevin Mirallas of Everton

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Jan Vertonghen says it is important that Tottenham are now beating their rivals for the Champions League spots, and he feels there is plenty more to come from the Lilywhites.

Spurs collected just three points from a possible 21 against the sides who sat in the top eight when Andre Villas-Boas departed.

And, although they recently lost to Manchester City for the second time this season, Tim Sherwood has also led his side to victories over Manchester United and Everton.

Yesterday’s 1-0 home win over Roberto Martinez’s Toffees took Tottenham above the Merseysiders into fifth place, and Vertonghen believes it was a crucial result.

“That was the main reason why we couldn’t compete for the first three places, because we lost our big games,” said the defender.

“We’ve lost against City twice, Liverpool… This is a good win for us. Everton are a very good team and it’s an unbelievable result for us.

“We want to start better. Everton were the better team in first half, but we bounced back in the second half.

“They were sharper in one way or another. It was the same at Hull, and I can’t really judge the games before because I didn’t play.

“We can do way better than we did yesterday. The second half was good and I think our mentality is great, but our game needs to be better.

“We play on Wednesday [against Newcastle] but in the next couple of weeks we’ve got the time to train and that’s the most important thing. We need to work on our shape and our movement and the sharpness will be there.”

Vertonghen has recently returned from an ankle injury which ruled him out for 12 games. He was side-lined during a frustrating spell at left-back under Villas-Boas – a position he does not enjoy – but he has come back into the team in his favoured role at centre-back.

“I’m very happy,” said the Belgian. “Tim uses me as a centre-back. He believes in me in that position, he says that and I feel the confidence as well.

“Especially when you’re coming back from injury, you don’t want to play out of position. If you come back and you’re a little bit insecure you want to play in your best position and that’s what he’s done.

“It’s been a strange season because it’s been my first time injured, then the manager left and I wasn’t fit while Tim was coming in.

“I talked with him a couple of times before and that was good. He knows me and he knows the club, he knows me as a player and he knows what I can do but still you want to show it in training. I came back and I was fit and he played me - I think that shows the confidence.”

Belgium coach Marc Wilmots was at White Hart Lane to see Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele and Everton’s Kevin Mirallas ahead of the World Cup in the summer.

And Vertonghen said: “I’m happy he saw me play as a centre-back. With Belgium I play as a left-back so I’m happy he saw me playing here now.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

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