Vertonghen: Spurs can win the Europa League
- Credit: EMPICS Sport
Jan Vertonghen believes Tottenham can win the Europa League after last night’s victory over CSKA Moscow secured a place in the last 32 of the competition.
Spurs’ original aim was to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League, having been involved in the elite tournament for the first time since the 2010-11 season, but that dream was ended in Monaco last month with one group game still to play.
Nonetheless, Wednesday’s 3-1 victory at Wembley Stadium meant Mauricio Pochettino’s side secured third place in Group E ahead of their Russian visitors, giving them a spot in the last 32 of the Europa League.
Vertonghen now feels Tottenham can make the most of their consolation prize and win the competition, which would secure a return to the Champions League.
“Can we win it? I believe so, I think we can,” said the Belgian. “Maybe our Champions League experience will help.
“We’re very hungry to win trophies. It’s a shame it’s not in the Champions League this year but we’re one of the better teams in the Europa League and now we have to show it.”
Vertonghen was pleased to be on the winning side at Wembley last night as Tottenham ended a six-match losing streak in competitive matches at the national stadium – a hoodoo which seemed to be growing in significance given Spurs are due to play all of their home games under the famous arch next season, while their new ground is being built.
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“It was very important to get the win for different reasons – to get to the Europa League, put all the Wembley stories to bed and keep playing well,” said the defender.
“It was important for us to show to the fans, to everyone watching, that we can do the same at Wembley as at White Hart Lane. It’s good to have the win in the bag so we can focus on other things.
“It’s good to go into the Europa League with a win here, and especially for next season as well, so we’re very happy we finally won here.
“It’s strange at times, you have a bad game and don’t do well. We had one very bad half here, the first half against Monaco. The other halves weren’t that bad, but in that game we conceded too easily, two goals. It was nothing crazy.”
Tottenham are now gearing up for Sunday’s trip to Old Trafford – the scene of Vertonghen’s first league goal for Spurs in September 2012, although the strike has since been designated a Jonny Evans own goal.
“They took it off me in the end, but I celebrated it as my goal!” said Vertonghen.
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs