Spurs star highlights key area for improvement after Chelsea defeat

Jan Vertonghen says Tottenham must be quicker out of the blocks at White Hart Lane and should discuss how to pressurise their visitors from the start, rather than at half-time.

Spurs have failed to score in the first half of any of their six home games under Andre Villas-Boas, and have gone into the break 1-0 down in their London derbies against QPR and Chelsea.

The Lilywhites hit back to take the lead in both games – and they have scored eight second-half goals in N17 this campaign – but it was not enough against the Blues on Saturday as Roberto Di Matteo’s visitors triumphed 4-2.

Clint Dempsey recently stated that Spurs are “still trying to put together two strong halves” – and Vertonghen feels that the weekend’s defeat has underlined that issue.

“It’s almost the same every time - the second half is better at home than the first half,” said the Belgian defender. “We have to think about how to put two strong halves together.We have to think about it, and talk with each other about how to give more pressure.

“After half-time we just totally gelled [against Chelsea]. Their centre-backs were playing too much, too easily.

“That’s what we did, we pressed them. We had a few good chances. Chelsea are a very good team so we knew it would he difficult, but I thought it was too much.

Most Read

“They have three amazing players in midfield in Hazard, Oscar and Mata. They are very gifted and they know how to play. That’s what we didn’t do very much. I knew it would be hard but I think we could have done better.”

Tottenham were hampered by the late loss of Gareth Bale, whose partner had gone into labour – and Vertonghen says his absence was felt on the field.

“I found out he wouldn’t be playing two hours before the game - maybe he knew before that,” he said. “Gareth is an amazing player, he’s one of our best players and he can usually make the difference in these types of games, but we have to respect his situation.”

William Gallas has drawn criticism for his performance in Saturday’s defeat against his former club, but Vertonghen has leapt to the defence of his colleague.

“He [Gallas] is a very experienced player,” he said. “With his experience he can be a very good player for us and he is a great captain.

“We talk a lot and he helps me. He treats me like I am his little brother so that’s why he is a very good captain. He wants the best from me, even though we’re both centre-backs, so I really appreciate him.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs