Although the gap at the top of the Premier League remains at seven points despite Tottenham’s late, late comeback at Swansea, Mauricio Pochettino’s camp are remaining defiant in pushing Chelsea all the way in pursuit of the Premier League title.
That resilience, according to Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen, is evidence of a precedent that has been set at White Hart Lane since Pochettino took charge, and the Belgian has sensationally claimed that the club’s newfound determination to win has firmly placed them amongst the Premier League big boys, for good.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Vertonghen claimed that Tottenham will not give up in the hunt for a first top-flight title since 1961, and the side harbours hopes that Chelsea will eventually crack under pressure, despite their victory over Manchester City on Wednesday, and he has labelled the next two rounds of fixtures potentially decisive in where the title will be heading come May.
“Chelsea are looking very strong”, he said. “We can’t stop pushing, but they had a big win and obviously the gap is still seven points. But they have a couple of big games coming up and we have to keep winning and hope they get stressed.”.
The Belgian also highlighted the vast progress made since Mauricio Pochettino’s arrival in 2014, with the Argentine having moulded the North London outfit from Europa League hopefuls into genuine title contenders, with Champions League qualification now a minimum.
“I think we have proven in the last two years what we are capable of. Before it was always Tottenham will finish fifth or sixth, but I think in the last two seasons we have proven that we belong where we are”.
Vertonghen also believes that summer signing Vincent Janssen is finally coming unto his own at Tottenham and will soon be firing on all cylinders after a tough start to life in England, having come off the bench to play a crucial role in the side’s late comeback at the Liberty Stadium on Wednesday.
“Every team wants to attack (in Holland), they don’t really think about defending”, Vertonghen told the London Evening Standard, speaking from his personal experience in the Eredivisie with Ajax, prior to joining Spurs.
“That’s the philosophy, just play 4-3-3 and play good football in possession. That’s why I think strikers get so many chances and goals in Holland, but obviously it’s different here.
“The tactics are less naive. Swansea defended for 90 minutes but were close to beating us. But Vincent is adapting very well. He understands the way the gaffer wants him to play. He just needs that goal and then he’ll be on fire.”
Janssen didn’t get on the score-sheet on the night, but registered an assist to his name after playing in Son Heung-Min for Tottenham’s third of the night with a sublime back-heel.
“I’m happy for him”, Vertonghen continued. “Obviously it wasn’t the start he wanted but he’s showing now what he’s capable of. He made a big difference when he came on against Swansea”.
A major part of Spurs going the extra mile and winning silverware, however, will be their capacity to retain their stars, and fans will be buoyed by news that club officials believe that Dele Alli, a transfer target for Real Madrid and Manchester City, will not be moving on over the summer, according to a report in the Daily Mail.
The former MK Dons man recently penned a new long-term deal at White Hart Lane, but speculation was increasing that it wouldn’t be sufficient to fend off bids from some of Europe’ big guns, but the club are now confident that any previous interest will fail to materialise in the form of a formal approach for the England international.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is thought to be prioritising recruitment elsewhere in his side, particularly in the defensive and goalkeeping positions, whilst the likelihood of chairman Daniel Levy sanctioning the sale of one of their star players to a direct top-four rival remains slim.
In fact, most concern at the club at present is about who may be coming in through the revolving door, rather than heading the other way. The club’s new head of recruitment Steve Hitchen is already thought to be eyeing up potential signings over the summer, with the report claiming that Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson could well be a potential target.
Having suffered from injuries across the back-line at different periods of the season, Tottenham could do with reinforcements to add depth to Pochettino’s newly preferred three-man defence, and one of the country’s brightest young defensive prospects may well be an ideal fit.
Featured Image: All Rights Reserved by Matt Donovan.