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The Big Interview - Jan Vertonghen

Posted on 12 April 2016  - 18:00

It was like he'd never been away.

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Almost three months after damaging his knee at Palace, Jan Vertonghen stepped back into our defensive unit alongside Toby Alderweireld and produced a typically composed display in the 3-0 win against Manchester United.

The Belgian pair laid the foundations for what is now the best defence in the Premier League by six clear goals by playing every minute of the first 22 fixtures.

On Jan's injury, Kevin Wimmer picked up the baton and conceded just six goals in his nine league outings.

Appreciating Mauricio Pochettino's call to put him straight back in the team, Jan was full of praise for Kevin, the team, the fans and summed it all up by describing being part of 'something special'.

Welcome back! It couldn't have gone any better - a clean sheet and 3-0 win against United...
Jan:
"I just said to the guys that it was an unbelievable day to come back into the team. I have to thank my team-mates. It was a great game. It was difficult in the first half, United had possession, not dangerous chances but they were very good in the first half. We told each other in the dressing room ‘let’s start differently in the second half’ and we did that."

Did you all feel we just had to step it up a gear?
Jan: "We tried in the first half but we couldn’t get close so we pushed the line even higher than we did in the first half. We scored the goal, then we scored twice more in five minutes, it was an incredible feeling. This team is something special."

What was it like out there?
Jan: "It’s been a while and the lads helped me, they gave me bags of confidence and I feel good. I’ve trained very hard in the last couple of months and last couple of weeks and that helped me through the game. To score three goals in six minutes, it was special. It was the best game possible to come back."

You've been out for 15 games but Mauricio brought you straight back into he team, a big decision because Kevin Wimmer has played so well...
Jan: "I have to thank the gaffer for his confidence in me, because Kevin has been outstanding, together with Toby they’ve been unbelievable, they kept the run going like we were doing until I was out against Palace. They kept it going, so big compliments to them. Toby and I have been playing together for such a long time and with the full-backs, Hugo, Eric just in front, Mousa as well (coming back) it’s like a warm bath! I’ve known them such a long time and they helped me through the game."

You've been here for a few years now Jan, where do you place Sunday's win?
Jan: "The way we play now is better than before. It’s my fourth season and this team is something special. You feel it at the training ground, here (White Hart Lane), the feeling in this team and this club is the best I’ve experienced in these four years."

It didn't take the fans long for a chorus of 'Super, Super Jan', how did that feel? The fans certainly respond to this team...
Jan: "It's not just me but they can identify with everyone in this team, young guys, mainly English but even the foreign lads, they can identify with them because they work so hard and they do everything to make them proud. That’s what they want to see and that’s why this team is so good."