Spurs boss admits Vincent Janssen is in a difficult period but insists: I’m not concerned

Vincent Janssen

Vincent Janssen - Credit: EMPICS Sport

Mauricio Pochettino admits summer signing Vincent Janssen is enduring a difficult period and was downcast after his latest outing against Aston Villa – but the Tottenham manager insists he is unconcerned by the striker’s struggles.

Janssen was the top scorer in the Dutch Eredivisie last season, and he swapped AZ Alkmaar for Spurs in a £17million deal in July.

However, he is yet to score from open play in 23 appearances for his new club, with all three of his goals coming from the penalty spot.

Janssen hit a new low as he drew another blank in Sunday’s FA Cup tie against Championship outfit Aston Villa at White Hart Lane and was substituted after 60 minutes, watching from the bench as Tottenham went on to score twice.

Pochettino concedes the forward is struggling for form and confidence – and he admits it was hardly ideal that the new recruit was forced into the limelight just one month into the season when Harry Kane was sidelined – but the manager has stressed that these are early days in the 22-year-old’s Spurs career.

“You know, I think we expected maybe for him not to play too much, and when Harry got injured he was our main striker and he played a lot,” said Pochettino.

“Maybe it was too early - but it’s part of the process. We need to help. He’s still very young, he’s a kid.

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“He’s in a moment now where he needs love and for us to help him, and the way we can help him is to try to push him and maybe give him extra work to help him be fitter, to be sharp and try to recover his good feelings.

“He’s another young player that has come from a different country, a different league, and he needs to adapt his qualities to the team and a different league. But we will push him to improve and help him to try to reach the level that we expect.

“I’m not concerned about him. We know that now he’s not in a good period. It’s true after Aston Villa he felt he was not at his best, and when you receive that feeling, some criticism, it’s always bad for a youngster.

“But that’s football and we need to accept that, and he needs to be clever and try to assimilate and use that to be more motivated to work and show that he was right when we signed him.”

The good news for Tottenham is that Janssen’s goal drought remains a personal issue which has had little effect on the team as a whole. Indeed, Spurs have scored 17 goals in their last six games – an average of almost three per match.

First-choice forward Kane is having another fine season, having scored 12 goals in 18 games for his club, while Heung-Min Son struck against Villa after moving up front in place of Janssen.

Meanwhile, midfielder Dele Alli has virtually been playing as a second striker at times and has netted seven times in his last five matches.

“When we use different formations sometimes he’s more into the box than Harry or another player like Son, that are very offensive players,” said Pochettino.

“For me, Dele Alli is a killer because he’s very aggressive when he runs forward. He’s desperate to go to the box and to get the ball and score. That is an unbelievable mentality and that is because he’s a very special player.

“He can play like an offensive player and he can play like a midfielder because of his characteristics. He can run box to box - he can run 12.5 or 13km - and all those characteristics make him a very special player.

“He’s not like Harry Kane - he cannot be our top scorer like him - but for his characteristics he has goals. He deserves a lot of credit, all the praise he’s receiving.”

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