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United clash spurs on Vertonghen

25 Nov 2013 15:46:52

United clash spurs on Vertonghen

Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen believes next Sunday's Barclays Premier League showdown with Manchester United offers the perfect pick-me-up following the debacle against Manchester City.

Spurs' 6-0 hammering at the Etihad Stadium was their biggest top-flight defeat since the 7-1 hammering at Newcastle almost 17 years ago.

It ruined what had been a decent defensive record for Andre Villas-Boas' men, who conceded the same number of goals in one afternoon as they had previously let in all season.

The scale of the drubbing sent them tumbling down to ninth, below an improving Newcastle outfit on goal difference.

With pressure mounting, there is little respite for Villas-Boas, who spent £108million reshaping his squad in the summer to cope with the world record departure of Gareth Bale.

United head to White Hart Lane in good form, despite the shock of dropping a couple of points in Cardiff on Sunday. They will also be defending an impressive record at Spurs, where they are unbeaten since 2001.

It is hardly the most obvious chance to recover lost pride but Belgian defender Vertonghen insists it is ideal.

"It is a good thing we play Manchester United next," he said.

"We are at home and we have the support of our crowd. I am sure we can win that game."

Villas-Boas admitted he was "embarrassed" and "ashamed" by Sunday's result.

Yet Vertonghen sees no need to panic.

The former Ajax star believes there is enough evidence to prove Tottenham are capable of challenging at the top end of the table.

And, in this strangest of seasons, when only Arsenal have shown any extended degree of consistency, Villas-Boas was speaking the truth in his observation that Tottenham are just four points adrift of second-placed Liverpool.

"It is not a big problem," he said.

"Of course we didn't play well against City but we are better than that.

"We can solve the problem. We will talk and bounce back on Sunday."

If some catastrophic defending - including two woeful clearances by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris that led directly to City's first two goals - can be excused as a one-off, Tottenham evidently have problems at the other end of the field.

They have scored only nine times in their 12 league games so far.

Other than Roberto Soldado and Gylfi Sigurdsson, no one has found the net more than once.

Emmanuel Adebayor's first appearance of the season as a half-time substitute underlined the difficulties Villas-Boas is facing given it appeared the former Arsenal man had no future at the club.

It will be a while before the manner of their fourth defeat of the campaign will be forgotten though.

"Words can't describe it," said skipper Michael Dawson.

"We have had a good defensive record this season but that has gone out of the window.

"They caused us all kinds of problems."

And Vertonghen admitted there were no excuses.

"Everybody was fit," he said.

"Many of us have had international matches but we play European games as well so that was not a problem.

"It is very disappointing. We came into the game very motivated to get a good result. But if you concede a goal after 15 seconds it is a bad thing.

"It is our own fault. Manchester City score a lot of goals at home but we gave three or four of them away too easily.

"I would just love to have the chance of playing this game again next week because we are better team than that."


PA

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