Jan Vertonghen admits Tottenham 'will have to improve' if they are to qualify for Champions League
Finishing in the top four looks a tough task
Tuesday 04 March 2014
Tottenham Hotspur are running to keep pace with the top four, but with Liverpool starting to pull away, Jan Vertonghen knows that they might have to catch someone else instead.
Although Manchester City are the closest team to Spurs, just four points ahead of them, Manuel Pellegrini’s side have played two fewer league games. City, most probably, will finish strongly. If Tottenham chase down one team and beat them to a Champions League place, the likeliest could even be Arsenal.
“You don’t only have to watch Liverpool,” said Vertonghen, after Spurs beat Cardiff City 1-0 on Sunday night. “I think there are other teams who can drop down so we are just watching fourth place, no matter who we catch.”
Tottenham play Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool this month, and Vertonghen admitted that Spurs “will have to improve, especially as we’re playing better sides this month.”
Wins against any of those teams would drag them back towards Tottenham – Sherwood said he would like to “mess up” the other team’s seasons - and the immediate focus is on Saturday evening’s trip to Stamford Bridge, to face Jose Mourinho’s title chasers. Vertonghen, who came to Spurs to play elite games like this, is looking forward to it. “For both of us, it’s a very important game. We want a good result and they want to win, obviously so it’ll be a nice game. I’m looking forward to it.”
The game that stands out the brightest, though, is not this weekend but next. Tottenham host Arsenal in the season’s third north London derby. If Spurs beat Chelsea they will be just three points behind going into that game at White Hart Lane. Arsenal are just starting to stutter, having won two of their last six league games. There were tight chases for Champions League places between Spurs and Arsenal in the last two seasons, and there might just be another one this time.
If Tottenham have a good March, and a good end to the season, much will hinge on Roberto Soladado, the £24million striker who scored just his sixth league goal of the season – and his second from open play – on Sunday. Vertonghen said that Soldado “needed” the goal, and there is a hope that he can take this new confidence into these big games.
“Of course, he’s a striker and he wants to score,” Vertonghen said. “We know he is doing a lot of work for us without scoring goals but for himself and for the press and for everyone, it’s good that he scored a goal. It keeps the pressure off him. We all like him and we know he is doing well. He has had some bad luck and that’s why we were all happy for him.”
Latest in Sport
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Best memes as Twitter reacts to imminent £16m transfer
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal joins Arsenal and Chelsea in the race for Sami Khedira
Mario Balotelli takes 50 per cent pay cut to join Liverpool as Samuel as Eto’o waits in the wings if deal falls through
Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
Click here for the full story." title="When a youngster asked for an autograph outside Manchester City's training ground, Balotelli demanded to know why the boy was playing truant. After the child revealed he was being bullied, Balotelli drove the boy and his mother to the school in question so he could tackle the bully himself. He demanded to see the headmaster to make him aware of the issue and then mediated between the two boys to resolve the problem. A source said: 'Mario feels strongly about bullying.' Click here for the full story." width="88" height="52" />Mario Balotelli: The funniest stories
- 1 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 2 West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State
- 3 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for pageant
- 4 Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile