Search

Vertonghen side-steps questions about Spurs future after Norwich defeat

12:37 24 February 2014

Jan Vertonghen

Jan Vertonghen

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Jan Vertonghen side-stepped questions about his future after Tottenham’s costly defeat at Norwich dealt a damaging blow to their hopes of Champions League qualification.

The Belgium international swapped Ajax for Spurs in 2012, at a time when the Lilywhites had just finished in the top four but had been robbed of a place at Europe’s top table because Chelsea were crowned kings of the continent and took their place.

Last season Tottenham fell short, coming fifth behind Arsenal on the final day of the season – and yesterday’s loss at Norwich means Tim Sherwood’s side have it all to do this campaign.

Spurs now trail fourth-placed Liverpool by six points and, although Vertonghen says he is fully focused on closing that gap, he has hinted that there could be some soul-searching in the summer if he and his team-mates fail again.

Asked if he would happy to stay at Spurs if they miss out on the Champions League, the defender replied: “Those are always difficult questions. My favourite thing, what I want of course, is to play in the Champions League with Tottenham. That’s what I want so I hope we get in there this year.”

And if Spurs don’t make it? “I can’t say anything about that so let’s see after the end of the season and after the World Cup,” said Vertonghen.

Tottenham seemed to be gaining momentum in their push for a top-four finish after a crucial 1-0 home win over Everton was followed by a comprehensive 4-0 triumph at Newcastle.

However, a 1-0 defeat to Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the Europa League on Thursday night preceded a hugely damaging 1-0 reverse at Norwich yesterday, and a downbeat Vertonghen says there is no silver lining.

“It’s very disappointing,” he said. “We knew the Liverpool result before the game of course, and we knew that we needed to win this game anyway. We had a couple of chances in the last 20 minutes but it was just not good enough.

“It’s not good in any way. We need to improve the level of our game to compete again for the top places.

“Before, it was the defence not doing well enough, including everybody, and now we’re not scoring enough goals to bounce back from a goal that makes it 1-0 after half-time, or whatever.

“We need to talk as a team about what we need to improve, but there are enough things to improve.

“Mentally I think we’re strong enough. For me maybe we’re one of the best teams mentally because we support each other all the time, but we need to get things right on the pitch. We want to fight for each other.”

It was notable that one of Spurs’ worst performances of the season came immediately after their return to Europa League action.

Indeed, five of Tottenham’s seven Premier League defeats this campaign have come after European outings on the Thursday night.

But Vertonghen said: “No it’s nothing to do with it, because we rested a lot of our important players on Thursday. I think five or six guys even stayed in England.

“We knew this game was important for us so it’s nothing to do with Thursday. I played on Thursday and I feel fit. For me there’s no excuse for this game.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

0 comments

Latest Sport Stories

07:30
Saracens' Jamie George (left) is tackled by Northampton's Stephen Myler

Hooker Jamie George is looking to put the disappointment of the weekend’s defeat to Northampton Saints behind him as Saracens prepare for Saturday’s trip to Exeter Chiefs in the Aviva Premiership.

Yesterday, 22:48
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger during the UEFA Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund.

Arsene Wenger says Arsenal must go all out for victory in their final Champions League group match despite already clinching qualification for the last 16.

Yesterday, 21:38
Arsenal's Yaya Sanogo scores his side's first goal against Borussia Dortmund

Yaya Sanogo grabbed his first competitive goal for Arsenal as they sealed their place in the Champions League knockout phase for the 12th year running with a 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund.

Yesterday, 18:05
Ryan McKinlay of Highgate Harriers. Pic: Dieter Perry

Ryan McKinlay roared to second place as a depleted Highgate Harriers side secured a top three finish in the North London Cross-Country Championships at Alexandra Park.

Most read sport

If this adorable thank you card is anything to go by, we can’t wait to see their Christmas card.

Just in case you were wondering, Westminster Cathedral isn’t a mosque.

Vloggers aren’t just being used to sell beauty products anymore, they’re being used to sell universities.

Ashley Roberts says she’s happy for Declan Donnelly after he asked his girlfriend to marry him.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition