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Vertonghen: Raid on Palace was 'tough'

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Tottenham Hotspur's Roberto Soldado. Picture credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

Tottenham Hotspur's Roberto Soldado. Picture credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

Tottenham Hotspur's Roberto Soldado. Picture credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

TOTTENHAM defender Jan Vertonghen admitted Crystal Palace were not a walkover as Roberto Soldado scored on his Spurs debut to claim a 1-0 win at Selhurst Park.

Without Real Madrid target Gareth Bale, ruled out because of a foot injury, Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas handed starts to Paulinho, Nacer Chadli and Soldado.

The Spain striker, signed from Valencia for a club record £26million, troubled the Palace back four throughout and dispatched a second-half penalty to win the match after Dean Moxey handled Aaron Lennon's cross.

Vertonghen passed a late fitness test to start in defence and was relieved to claim a win.

"That's what we wanted. We couldn't get a loss here," Vertonghen said.

"Of course we want to do better but this was about getting the win for us. Next time we will score more goals."

Vertonghen hailed Spurs' new signings. "They (new signings) are strong and Roberto scored a goal," he added.

"We have a big and strong team. We want to play for the prizes and Champions League qualification. That's why we need a big team.

"They (Palace) play long balls towards (Marouane) Chamakh and (Kevin) Phillips. We knew that would make it tough and that's why we had to try and get two goals."

Paulinho's bustling presence in midfield helped the visitors out in a scrappy encounter, but Tottenham lacked the bit of magic that Bale would bring.

Encouragement

Palace, for their part, will take encouragement from this game. Their back four looked solid and keeper Julian Speroni was inspired at times

Palace started nervously, as Moxey's wayward back pass handed Soldado an early chance, but Speroni came to the rescue.

The Eagles managed the first attempt on target when Aaron Wilbraham headed straight at Hugo Lloris.

Chadli had a glorious chance to nod Spurs ahead in first-half injury time but headed over at the back post.

Spurs broke the deadlock four minutes after the restart. Lennon's low cross struck Moxey's outstretched arm and referee Mark Clattenburg awarded a spot-kick, Soldado sending the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.

Defoe, who came on for Soldado on 83 minutes, should have put the game beyond doubt but shot wide.

Lloris then pulled off an outstanding save in the final minute to deny Kagisho Dikgacoi.


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