Jan Vertonghen says Tottenham “deserve” a trophy to cap their progress in recent years and believes one will lead to many more.
Belgian international Vertonghen has urged his Spurs teammates to take a big step toward breaking their silverware drought when they face Manchester United in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final.
The two have already met at Wembley, Spurs’ temporary home, this season. The meeting saw Pochettino’s side comfortably beat United 2-0. This is, however, unlikely to reassure the ‘home’ fans and club, that their challengers will not have that in mind.
Manchester United are ahead in the FA Cup stakes. The Red Devil’s have held the legendary cup twelve times in its history. Tottenham Hotspur have lifted the trophy eight times.
With both on the hunt for silverware, it could be said that Spurs are hungrier. Fans, players and club having seen no reward for their club’s metamorphosis from title no-hopers to serious challengers.
Despite only losing twice at home in as many years, and epic performances against the likes of Real Madrid, key moments have come and gone for the unlucky Lillywhites.
Finishing third, then second, moreover above arch nemesis Arsenal would have been unthinkable before Mauricio Pochettino’s arrival. However, with nothing to show for such a turnaround, Vertonghen and indeed fans feel it’s time for change.
Silver needed to hallmark a new era?
The last title to be brought back to North London was the 2008 League Cup. A shiny trophy is the physical and psychological catalyst needed to continue the rise of Spurs. Its place in the new stadium would hold significant on many levels, including justification for the stadium’s motto ‘Watch Us Rise.’
Spurs enter the game following two poor performances. The first forgivable, to rampant Manchester City who beat them at home last weekend. More unexpected was the lacklustre effort displayed in the 1-1 draw with Brighton midweek. A sloppy game which could have seen them sit somewhat more comfortably in the top four, had they won.
Serge Aurier may have marked his Wembley card, by once again displaying the petulance that has plagued his former and newest role. A reckless challenge gifted Brighton an equaliser, arguably costing his side two points. Two points that could prove vital in the race for the Champions League places.
Vertonghen “I’ve been here a long time and this is the best team I’ve played with”
Jan Vertonghen has thus urged his colleagues to forget the last couple of games, and strive to bring home a reward. He implied that they need to prove to themselves and fans that Spurs can challenge at the top level.
Defender Vertonghen, who has been outstanding for his club, making the PFA Team of the Year said: “Everyone at the club is looking forward to games like this and being in finals.”
“I’ve been here a long time and this is definitely the best team I’ve played in at Tottenham. This team and club deserves a trophy for all the work we’ve put in, and we hope Saturday can be the next step.”
Mauricio Pochettino is fortunate to be able to choose his first eleven with only Harry Winks ruled out so far with injury. The game with Brighton saw the welcome return of Toby Alderweireld, who it’s rumoured won’t be playing on the new pitch at Spurs’ yet unnamed new home.
The former Ajax star put in a solid performance, making clear his absence was noticed. Despite the excellent effort by young Davinson Sanchez to fill his boots, Alderweireld’s experience at the top level is undeniably required, particularly in games like the imminent semi-final.
Harry Kane hasn’t fired up in the last couple of performances causing some concern for fans. With Dele Alli also absent midweek, it’s unclear who will begin the crucial tie on Saturday. Though Mousa Dembele has appeared for Spurs, his ongoing ankle problem may again hamper a start. For this reason, Victor Wanyama will likely at least make the bench.
Will fans see Moura Lucas?
Lucas Moura made his first full Premier League start against Brighton. Again, the Brazilian showed glimpses of the magic that earned a job with French giants PSG. However following the arrival of Neymar and Mbappe, Moura saw little game time.
It has been the same since his January arrival at Tottenham. Fans so far seeing only fleeting glimpses of what he can do. Whether he will be given a starting place on Saturday remains to be seen. With Erik Lamela and Heung-Min Son available, there are several forward options for Pochettino.
José Mourinho is also anxious for his side to succeed in Saturday’s evening’s clash. Rival Pep Guardiola and his Blues have already run away with the Premier League title. The ‘Special One’ will be anxious to even out the glory.
Following their loss to West Brom last weekend, the manager received some scathing criticism. Worsened by the result ‘gifting’ the title to Manchester City.
Mourinho Cherry picks his side.
He dropped no hint to his possible selection following Wednesday’s win over Bournemouth. He declared that their clash with the Cherries was an opportunity for players to put in their application for a semi final place.
Mourinho told reporters: “I would say that every player on the pitch was positive. And – made themselves available for the semi-final on Saturday.”
He went on to say, ambigulously: “Obviously I am going to change the team. I am not going to repeat this team. But all of the players told me they are here, and want to play.”
Scott McTominay: “We know we can beat them.”
One young United player, Scott McTominay was much clearer of his sides’ intentions. He told in a recent interview with FA.com that he and his teammates are relishing their trip to Wembley.
“We’re looking forward to Spurs now and hopefully we can go forward, attack them and do as well as we can. They’re obviously a strong team. We’ve seen that throughout the two games we played against them in the Premier League. But we know that we can beat them. They’ve got some really good players, we know that. But we’ll be ready to go with everything.
The second semi-final between Chelsea and Southampton, will take place on Sunday. The winners of both ties will play in the final scheduled for the third week of May.
— Jan Vertonghen (@JanVertonghen) April 18, 2018