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."
Latest in Sport
Arturo Vidal to Manchester United: Midfielder set to force through move to Louis van Gaal's Red Devils - reports
Manchester United transfer news: Mats Hummels, Daley Blind and Thomas Vermaelen on radar as Louis van Gaal reveals he still wants to sign defender
Carl Jenkinson: Arsenal fullback joins West Ham on season-long loan
Liverpool transfer news: Brendan Rodgers plans more Anfield signings this summer
Chelsea transfer news: Jose Mourinho confirms Fernando Torres is staying at Stamford Bridge
- 1 Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 4 Now diplomacy has failed, boycotting Israel might be the only way we can protect the people of Gaza
- 5 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us