Vertonghen drops exit hint should Spurs miss top-four finish
Jan Vertonghen has thrown his future at Tottenham into doubt, if there isn’t Champions League football at White Hart Lane next season.
Spurs are 7/2 for a top-four finish under Tim Sherwood this term, but are now six points behind Liverpool. His hint at a summer exit cranks up the pressure in north London after losing at Norwich City in their last outing.
Vertonghen, 26, was asked if he would remain at Tottenham if they miss out on a place at Europe’s top table again, but gave a coy response. “Those are difficult questions,” he said.
“What I want is to be playing in the Champions League with Tottenham, so I hope we get in this year.
“Do I have a decision to make if I don’t? I can’t say anything about that. Let’s see after the end of the season, after the World Cup.”
Since returning from an ankle injury that saw him sit out most of December and January, Vertonghen has helped Spurs keep two clean sheets and they have conceded just twice in four matches.
Tottenham face a tricky month in March as they tackle London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea, as well as Liverpool in the Premier League. “We’ll need quite a lot of points from those games,” added Vertonghen.
“They [Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool] are still competing for important things so they will be tough games but we’ve showed we can beat good teams and we have to step up.
“Mentally, we’re strong enough. Maybe we’re one of the best teams mentally because we support each other all the time but we need to get things right on the pitch.”
Spurs are now odds-on at 1/6 to finish out the top-four – a circumstance which may cost Tim Sherwood his job.
Netherlands national coach Louis van Gaal continues to make noises about returning to club management at White Hart lane. His contract with his country ends after the World Cup.
Sherwood, meanwhile, wants his Tottenham players to show character and respond to their defeat at Carrow Road. “It’s the first major setback I’ve had,” he said. “We’re going to need to be spirited to show we can bounce back.
“We just have to concentrate on winning our games. We can’t rely on other people to lose all their games and us qualify for the Champions League, because that’s not going to happen.”
Next on the agenda for Spurs is their last 32 Europa League second leg. They must overturn a one-goal deficit against Dnipro, but back them at 4/5 to qualify for the next round at home.