Jan Vertonghen believes Vincent Janssen has all the attributes to succeed in the Premier League after the striker came off the bench and helped Tottenham to a dramatic victory at Swansea last night.
Janssen – who was the top scorer in Holland last season with AZ Alkmaar – needed 30 games to score his first goal from open play for Spurs, following his £17million summer transfer.
However, his performances have improved since that long-awaited strike against Millwall last month. And, having impressed from the start in Saturday’s 2-0 win at Burnley, the 22-year-old made a big impact off the bench at Swansea on Wednesday evening.
Spurs were trailing 1-0 when Janssen appeared, but he set up a goal for Heung-Min Son with a clever backheel before playing a part in another for Christian Eriksen as Mauricio Pochettino’s Lilywhites struck three times in the final nine minutes to triumph 3-1 at the Liberty Stadium.
Asked if Janssen has the attributes to succeed in the Premier League, Vertonghen told Yahoo Sport UK: “Definitely, definitely yes. I’m convinced.
“I’m so happy for him. Vincent’s working very hard. Obviously it wasn’t the start he wanted [at the club] but he’s showing now what he’s capable of.
“I think he had a massive game against Burnley and he made a big difference when he came on this time. I’m so happy for him because he’s working very hard and playing with massive qualities.”
Vertonghen knows himself what it takes to adapt to English football after playing in Holland , having joined Tottenham from Dutch outfit Ajax in 2012.
“I think the main thing is [the strikers] get a lot more space [in Holland ],” he said. “Every team in Holland wants to attack and they don’t really think about defending.
“That’s the philosophy – just play 4-3-3 and play good football in possession, and don’t think too much about defending.
“That’s why I think strikers get so many chances and goals in Holland , and obviously it’s different here. I think the tactics are less naïve. Swansea defended for 90 minutes but they were very close to beating us. I think that’s the main reason.
“But I think Vincent is adapting now very well. He understands the way the gaffer wants him to play. He’s so strong. He just needs that goal and then he’s on fire.”
Having reduced Chelsea’s lead at the top of the table from 10 points to seven on Saturday, second-placed Spurs looked like they were going to going to immediately lose ground again and suffer a costly defeat in south Wales last night.
Ex-Tottenham winger Wayne Routledge gave the Swans an 11th-minute lead and Pochettino’s Lilywhites only equalised in the 88th minute through Dele Alli, while Son and Eriksen then completed a stunning turnaround during seven minutes of injury time.
It secured Spurs’ fifth successive league win and, as they play before Chelsea on Saturday, they can move four points behind the leaders when they host Watford .
“It was a crazy one,” reflected Vertonghen, who captained an injury-hit side against Swansea . “We had a couple of other comebacks in the back of our heads. We didn’t stop believing and it paid off in the end.
“I think we handled the [games at Burnley and Swansea this week] brilliantly. Obviously we left it a bit late this time but it’s a big win for us and the gap with the other teams [behind us] is getting bigger, and that’s what we wanted.
“ Chelsea are looking very strong. We can’t stop pushing and dreaming of that league [title], but they had a big win too [against Manchester City ] and the gap’s still seven points.
“They’ve got a couple of difficult games coming up and we have to keep winning and hopefully they get a bit stressed.
“Are we looking up or down the table now? I think we’re doing both. We’re happy Liverpool drew [with Bournemouth ] in the last couple of minutes.
“The Chelsea v City game could have gone both ways but we’re looking at both sides I think. We want to secure that Champions League spot as soon as possible and then we’ll see what’s possible.”
Vertonghen continued: “I think we’ve proven in the last year or two now what we’re capable of. It was always ‘Tottenham are capable of beating the smaller teams but not the big ones’ and in the last couple of years we’ve been doing both.
“Before it was always ‘Tottenham will finish fifth or sixth’ but I think in the last two seasons especially we’ve proven that we belong where we are.
“We’ve got some massive quality. I don’t know what’s necessary to win the league – maybe a bit of luck, I don’t know. But I think this group is something very special.
“We’re missing maybe five starting XI players who would play normally play and if you see how the other guys fit in, it’s unbelievable – even Vincent, who comes off the bench now and makes a difference.
“I think we have a very strong squad who can beat every squad in the Premier League.”
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