Centre-back Toby saw his defensive colleague and fellow Belgian international forced out of action with an ankle injury during last weekend’s 4-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion.
Set to be without Jan’s services for a while, Toby says it promises to be a challenge to replicate his quality in the back line, but he believes we have the personnel to cope well.
“Of course, it’s massive for us – Jan is a very important player but unfortunately he is injured now so we have to keep it to one side and the guys who are going to play there now have to be ready and have to do everything to get his quality and his performances from the last weeks because he’s been brilliant,” said the former Atletico Madrid and Southampton man.
“We have to cope as a team and the guy who’s coming in for Jan has to bring his level, but we have a very good squad. Not only the 11 who are always playing – even the guys who come in always make a difference so that’s important, to have a good squad, and I’m very confident in whoever is going to play there.”
Toby was speaking to Spurs TV on Friday to preview our big game at the Etihad. Here’s what else he had to say…
How confident are you ahead of the City clash?
“I think the team has good momentum at the moment, of course we are confident in our own quality and it’s going to be a tough game. City away is difficult, I think they’ll want to bounce back from their last result (4-0 defeat at Everton) as well so it’s going to be a good game on a high level.”
Do you sense a ‘big game feel’ to this one?
“Yes. It’s a cliché because you want to win every game of course, but these are the big games and that’s why you want to play at the top in the league, because you want to play these kinds of games and get results. Yes, it’s going to be tough, a big game and we’re looking forward to it.”
How do you plan to deal with City’s attacking players like Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero?
“They all have quality so we have to be on top as a defence and as a team. We have to be very good to stop them but I think we have to play them as a team – we know our quality is the team so I’m confident we can beat them.”
Will we be able to replicate the level of performance that saw us beat City 2-0 at home?
“Yes, of course we can do it. Everything has to fall in the right spot but we have to put everything into it, work hard, our organisation has to be good and then up front we have so much quality to make the difference, so I’m confident if we work hard.”
Another word on Jan – how is he feeling at the moment?
“You don’t have to be very smart to know that he’s sad about it but I think he’s put the switch on now (in his head) and said ‘okay, I have to be back as quickly as possible’ so he’s training hard to come back. I feel bad for Jan but now as a team we have to help and make sure we fill that spot in.”
Finally, how do you assess our recent good form?
“I think it’s very good but you have to keep going and not be satisfied with what you have – just keep going, work hard and try to win every game as it comes, then see it game-by-game. The next game is a big one!”