Vertonghen talks up growing belief in Spurs camp after Inter win
PUBLISHED: 10:00 29 November 2018
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The 31-year-old slotted seamlessly into Tottenham's back four in his first appearance for the club since September 29
Jan Vertonghen says there is a buzz building in the Spurs dressing room ahead of what will be another huge month for the club.
The centre back made his return from a hamstring injury to star in Tottenham Hotspur’s 1-0 victory over Inter Milan at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday night.
Spurs’ one-goal success, in what was a must-win Group B contest in the Champions League, kept alive their faint hopes of progressing into the round of 16 and all that stands in their way now is the small matter of winning in Barcelona on December 11.
Before the clash with the La Liga giants, Mauricio Pochettino’s men must make the trip to the Emirates on Sunday for the first of two clashes between the rivals during December with another fixture pencilled in for December 19 in the League Cup.
Vertonghen said: “The way we are playing now we feel we have a good chance (of reaching the Champions League knock-out stage), especially if we can keep the momentum going until the Barca game.
“There is a buzz in the dressing room, so we have a good chance.”
He continued: “I am very happy to be back. You always play a bit of your own game in a big game when you come back after two months.
“I focused on the normal things like winning my first one-v-one, winning my tackles and my first passes went well. Overall we can be happy with our performance.”
The Belgian suffered a hamstring injury during the 2-0 win at Huddersfield Town in the Premier League on September 29.
It was initially feared he would not return until December, but the 31-year-old was on the bench for the 3-1 win over Chelsea last weekend and slotted seamlessly back into the Spurs defence.
He has returned at a good time for the Lilywhites and ahead of what will be another pivotal month for the club.
Pochettino’s side will play nine times before the year is out with two clashes away to Arsenal coming up, plus trips to Leicester City and Barca while Southampton, Burnley, AFC Bournemouth and Wolverhampton Wanderers will all visit Wembley.
But Vertonghen’s excited by the busy schedule, he added: “When you are injured you realise how blessed you are when you are fit and I prefer it this way than to be sitting on the touchline for a couple of weeks.
“I am looking forward to the time which is coming. We always do well in December and hopefully we can keep it going.”
The ex-Ajax centre back impressed from the outset at Wembley and kept Inter Milan captain Mauro Icardi quiet for most of the evening.
He should have marked his return with a goal, however, when Christian Eriksen’s free kick looked perfect for him to score, but Vertonghen headed wide from a few yards out with bodies in his way.
It didn’t matter in the end, though, as 10 minutes later, with 80 on the clock, Eriksen found the net to secure a vital victory.
Vertonghen finished: “I was extremely disappointed because I believe from the side it looked an easy header and it was if I expected it.
“I had three Inter guys in front of me, but they left it for a goal kick I think and I was too surprised. A striker would have scored!”