Vertonghen insists Bale is not irreplaceable
Published 17/12/2012 | 15:25
JAN Vertonghen believes Tottenham's victory over Swansea proves they can flourish without winger Gareth Bale.
Spurs climbed to fourth in the Barclays Premier League after Vertonghen fired them to a 1-0 triumph with his first goal in the competition at White Hart Lane yesterday.
Bale has been sidelined for two weeks with a hamstring injury and failed to make the squad yesterday and Tottenham are criticised for their lack of penetration in the Wales winger's absence.
But Vertonghen, a £12million summer signing from Ajax, believes Clint Dempsey has proved a capable deputy.
"Maybe we needed a little more width on the pitch but Clint has replaced Gareth very well, like he has done with all the strikers already," he said.
"Of course Gareth is a world class player, but we did well without him.
"We have a big squad but have had too many injuries. But even without those players we've played quite well. When everybody comes back we'll have a very strong team."
Vertonghen insists the victory has set Tottenham up for a Christmas schedule that begins against Stoke at White Hart Lane on Saturday and also includes fixtures against Aston Villa, Sunderland and Reading.
"We needed to win our two matches games, this being the first one. It's important to enter Christmas with a good feeling," the 25-year-old said.
"We did okay against Swansea. We know Swansea are a good passing team but we put them under pressure and created a lot of chances."
Just as pleasing as Spurs' third clean sheet of the season was their refusal to concede the type of late goal that has hamstrung them under manager Andre Villas-Boas.
In their 24 matches this season, they have been breached 13 times in the last 15 minutes and had their matches finished at 80 minutes, they would be top of the table.
"We've conceded too many goals in the last 10 minutes, we know that. We have to keep our focus for 95 minutes," Vertonghen said.
"We talked about not conceding late goals and last week was a perfect example. We concentrated very hard.
"It would have been nice to win 2-0 but we didn't give them many chances."
Six seasons spent at Ajax before joining Tottenham has conditioned Vertonghen to a winter break, but he is happy to change his routine and play over Christmas.
"I love the winter break and it would be welcome because of the amount of games I play," he said.
"But it's tradition and there are amazing atmospheres on Boxing Day and January 1. I love playing football so I don't really care. My family will come over for a few days."
Swansea boss Michael Laudrup saw no shame in the defeat at White Hart Lane.
"On a day when our passing game maybe wasn't at its best, we were really competitive until the last second against a really good team on their ground so I can't complain about the performance - we know we can't win them all," he said.