Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen expects tighter Premier League title race
Defender says Christian Eriksen is happy at Spurs; Discusses facing Juventus and Man Utd in pre-season
By Charlie Skinner
Last Updated: 18/07/19 12:01pm
Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen does not believe Liverpool and Manchester City will be as dominant in the Premier League this season.
Despite reaching a first Champions League final last season and finishing fourth in the Premier League, a mid-season slump meant Spurs faltered behind front-runners City and Liverpool, but Vertonghen feels the title race will be a lot tighter next season.
Vertonghen said: "We lost a couple of games around March, April that we shouldn't have lost and City and Liverpool kept winning theirs. We got too far away from them to compete for the Premier League but I think we learned a lot from that.
"I don't think they [City and Liverpool] will go like this again like they did last season.
"There are probably six teams that want to challenge for the Premier League and we all know who they are. I consider ourselves one of the three or four best teams in the league."
Spurs have bolstered their efforts to challenge for the title by breaking the club-record transfer fee for Tanguy Ndombele when he signed from Lyon for £63m.
However, Vertonghen feels it is just as important to keep Tottenham's existing squad together and build on their momentum from last season.
He said: "We managed to keep the team together for the last couple of years which was very important, especially because we have been doing so well and adding a couple of new faces to that every once in a while is important, but I think even more important is keeping the right players in this place.
"I have been only training with him [Ndombele] for a week. His running is good and hopefully we can see more of him in Singapore."
'Eriksen loves it here, but I can't speak for him'
He added: "I have got everything I want here. For me, it's the best club to play for at the moment, definitely.
"I love being here, my family loves it, I love it. I feel great with the fans, great with the manager. He's been supporting me and making me a better player over the last five or six years.
"Christian [Eriksen] loves it here but I can't speak for him. I think we've got a great club and from what I can see, everyone is happy to be here."
One player that has sealed his Tottenham exit is England right-back Kieran Trippier, following his £21.7m transfer to Atletico Madrid which was finalised on Wednesday.
Vertonghen said: "I love him [Trippier]. He's a brilliant guy and everyone loves him in the team. He loves playing games and obviously he's a great player. It's always a shame to see friends go but if he's happy and everyone's happy, I'm happy for him.
"I'm not sure if he's a fan of tapas but he will adapt. He's a great guy and I'm sure they will start loving him very soon."
On facing Juventus and Man Utd
Tottenham are currently in Singapore for the International Champions Cup as they face Juventus on Sunday, before a trip to Shanghai to face Manchester United the following Wednesday.
Vertonghen added: "If a pre-season isn't tough then there is something wrong. I think we train in the right way to get us in shape for the first game.
"You want to test yourself against the big teams. I'm not a fan of playing against the smaller teams so it's good to play against the best teams in the world and Juventus is definitely one of them.
"I can't wait to compete again, I feel very good. I can't wait for Sunday to play Juventus. I can't wait to play United. I think everyone feels like that, we just can't wait to get back on the pitch together and show what we are capable of."
Tottenham begin their Premier League campaign on Saturday August 10 with home fixture against newly-promoted Aston Villa, live on Sky Sports Premier League.