Foyth favours not just the four
Sat 16 February 2019, 10:18|Tottenham Hotspur
Wednesday’s win over Borussia Dortmund marked the first time all four of our senior centre-halves have started the same match, but Juan Foyth reckons the whole team deserves credit for the clean sheet against the Bundesliga leaders.
Second-half goals from Heung-Min Son, Jan Vertonghen and Fernando Llorente carried us to a memorable 3-0 victory over the German giants in the first leg of our Champions League round of 16 tie at Wembley.
The nature of our performance left everyone purring, but the importance of denying an always dangerous Dortmund side an away goal cannot be understated.
Fledgling Argentine international Juan came straight back into the European reckoning after being ineligible for the group stage matches before Christmas, forming a central defensive wall alongside Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez, while fellow centre-half Jan stole the show with a Man of the Match performance as a left wing-back. Serge Aurier supplied a crucial assist from right wing-back as we left our visitors with a mountain to climb in the return meeting on 5 March.
Our senior central-defensive quartet had never started all at once since Davinson and Juan arrived in the summer of 2017 but, while they all undoubtedly contributed to the outcome on Wednesday, Juan insists any credit for keeping Dortmund at bay needs to be shared further afield.
“Every defender in the team is important – the left-backs and right-backs defend really well for us as well,” said the 21-year-old, who is in the midst of a second full season in England that has so far included a Premier League debut against Wolves, a first senior goal against Crystal Palace and a first full Argentina cap.
“Against Dortmund, all the team helped to keep the clean sheet – the forward players were pressing a lot, in the middle of the pitch we had very good organisation and Hugo (Lloris), of course, made some great saves, so I think that shows how the whole team played their part.
“The team was very solid and it was a really good performance from everyone. Personally, I think I can improve on a lot of things but I’m still happy because of the win.”
A product of the Estudiantes youth system, Juan made his Champions League debut in last season’s group stage win over APOEL at Wembley but circumstances thereafter meant he couldn’t be named in our European squad as we took on Inter, PSV and Barcelona this time around in Group B.
Mauricio Pochettino previously admitted the situation was “so painful” but Juan maintained his professionalism and once a position opened up for him to be in the squad for the knockout rounds, he made sure he took his chance.
“It was fantastic, really,” said the defender on his return to the top table of European football. “The Champions League is a dream for every player. When the gaffer told me I was starting I was a little bit surprised but really, really happy. I told my family, my friends and I enjoyed the game a lot.
“I was ready – I’ve trained a lot with the guys every week and everyone is always ready to play. Now I will keep pushing and when we go to Germany for the second leg, the mentality will be the same – play well with good organisation, be solid at the back and win the game.”