Jan Vertonghen warns Tottenham could be out of Champions League running before March
Defender calls on team to improve if they are to retain hope of finishing in top four
Monday 03 March 2014
Jan Vertonghen has warned Tottenham to improve quickly or face missing the Champions League boat even before the end of the month.
The Belgium defender last week indicated he may look to leave White Hart Lane in the summer if Tim Sherwood's side do not secure a place in Europe's premier club competition next season.
Sunday's 1-0 victory over Cardiff at White Hart Lane consolidated fifth place in the Barclays Premier League, and Spurs now face Chelsea, Arsenal, Southampton and Liverpool in a pivotal March schedule which Vertonghen believes will make or break their European ambitions.
"We needed those three points, but we will have to improve because we are playing better sides in March," the 26-year-old said.
"It is not just Liverpool we are chasing; I think there are other teams who can drop down.
"We are just watching fourth place - it does not matter who we catch.
"It was not our best game (on Sunday) but we are back on track after losing to Norwich."
Liverpool are rumoured to be monitoring Vertonghen's situation, poised to pounce should the former Ajax defender make good on his Champions League threat should Tottenham miss out.
Spurs trail fourth-placed Manchester City by four points, but Manuel Pellegrini's men have two games in hand over their title-chasing rivals.
Tottenham take on leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, with 10 points separating the London clubs in the standings.
Vertonghen is braced for a battle against international team-mate Eden Hazard this weekend, but acknowledged Chelsea boast plenty other threats too.
"He is in good form and we will need to defend well against him," Vertonghen said.
"But it is not only Hazard. Andre Schurrle scored three times against Fulham, they have midfielders who can score goals and they are strong from set-plays.
"It will be an important game for both of us and we want a good result."
Roberto Soldado broke his two-month goal drought in Sunday's win over Cardiff, and Vertonghen reckons the pressure-release could fire the Spain striker into top form.
"It was a good goal and he needed that," he said.
"He is doing a lot of work for us without scoring goals but for himself, for the press and for everyone, it is good that he scored a goal to take the pressure off.
"Everyone saw the celebrations with him after the goal. We all like him and we are all very happy for him."
Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Play-acting mystifies me. I was taught not to show pain
Phil Hughes dead: List of players who have tragically died on the cricket pitch
Nani transfer: No future for winger at Sporting Lisbon as club cannot afford his wages when loan deal with Manchester United runs out
This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Tottenham Hotspur vs Partizan Belgrade match report: Spurs go through in Europa League - but pitch invaders grab the attention
- 1 Exodus Gods and Kings casting controversy: Ridley Scott would never cast 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
- 2 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 3 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
- 5 Michael Buerk wishes he killed Jimmy Savile when he had the chance - by pushing him overboard a cruise ship
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Sarah Vine criticises lesbian mother Jack Monroe: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'