Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen happy team-mate Vincent Janssen has now adjusted to Premier League
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Dutch striker had struggled since summer move, but is now finding form
Jan Vertonghen believes Vincent Janssen is now looking at home in the Premier League after his move from the Netherlands.
The Dutch striker — who was the top scorer in his homeland last season with AZ Alkmaar — has generally struggled at White Hart Lane, but is now showing strong signs of an improvement.
After getting a rare start in Saturday’s 2-0 win at Burnley, and leading the line well, the 22-year-old made an important impact off the bench at Swansea last night.
Spurs were 1-0 down when Janssen came on in the second half, but he set up a goal for Heung-Min Son before playing a part in another for Christian Eriksen as the visitors struck three times in the last nine minutes to triumph 3-1.
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“I’m so happy for him,” said Vertonghen. “Vincent’s working very hard. Obviously it wasn’t the start he wanted [at the club], but he’s showing now what he’s capable of.
“I think he had a massive game against Burnley and he made a big difference when he came on this time. I’m so happy for him because he’s working very hard and playing with massive qualities.
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“Does he have the attributes to succeed in the Premier League? Definitely, definitely yes. I’m convinced.”
Vertonghen also made the move from the Netherlands to England when he joined Spurs from Ajax in 2012, so he has a good idea what it is like for Dutch forwards who are getting used to the Premier League.
“I think the main thing is [the strikers] get a lot more space [in the Netherlands],” he said. “Every team in Holland wants to attack and they don’t really think about defending.
“That’s the philosophy — just play 4-3-3 and play good football in possession, and don’t think too much about defending.
“That’s why I think strikers get so many chances and goals in Holland, and obviously it’s different here. I think the tactics are less naïve. Swansea defended for 90 minutes, but they were very close to beating us. I think that’s the main reason.
“But I think Vincent is adapting now very well. He understands the way the gaffer wants him to play. He’s so strong. He just needs that goal and then he’s on fire.”
Chelsea remain seven points ahead of Spurs after beating Manchester City last night. But, as Tottenham are in action before their London rivals this Saturday, they can close the gap to four points when they host Watford.
“Chelsea are looking very strong,” said Vertonghen, who captained the Spurs side in Swansea. “We can’t stop pushing and dreaming of that league [title], but they had a big win too [against Manchester City] and the gap’s still seven points.
“They’ve got a couple of difficult games coming up and we have to keep winning and hopefully they get a bit stressed.
“Are we looking up or down the table now? I think we’re doing both. We’re happy Liverpool drew [with Bournemouth] in the last couple of minutes.
“The Chelsea v City game could have gone both ways, but we’re looking at both sides I think. We want to secure that Champions League spot as soon as possible and then we’ll see what’s possible.”
Vertonghen continued: “I think we’ve proven in the last year or two now what we’re capable of. It was always ‘Tottenham are capable of beating the smaller teams, but not the big ones’ and in the last couple of years we’ve been doing both.
“Before it was always ‘Tottenham will finish fifth or sixth’, but I think in the last two seasons especially we’ve proven that we belong where we are.
“We’ve got some massive quality. I don’t know what’s necessary to win the league — maybe a bit of luck, I don’t know. But I think this group is something very special.
“We’re missing maybe five starting XI players who would play normally play and if you see how the other guys fit in, it’s unbelievable — even Vincent, who comes off the bench now and makes a difference.
“I think we have a very strong squad who can beat every squad in the Premier League.”