Ver­tonghen de­mands FA Cup re­cov­ery after re­al­ity check


Tot­ten­ham de­fender Jan Ver­tonghen says Wed­nes­day s FA Cup third round re­play against Burn­ley of­fers a golden op­por­tu­nity to make amends for their re­al­ity check at Crys­tal Palace.

Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino s side started 2015 in mem­o­rable fash­ion as they thrashed Premier League lead­ers Chelsea 5-3 at White Hart Lane. But Tot­ten­ham haven t won since then as a 1-1 draw at Burn­ley in the FA Cup was fol­lowed by a dispir­it­ing 2-1 de­feat at Crys­tal Palace on Satur­day. The north Lon­don­ers had been on course to se­cure three points after Harry Kane s opener, only to lose their mo­men­tum com­pletely as strug­gling Palace stole the points thanks to goals from Dwight Gayle and Ja­son Pun­cheon.

Tot­ten­ham were ag­grieved to de­nied the chance to res­cue a point when ref­eree An­thony Tay­lor waved away Kane s penalty ap­peals after be­ing taken down by Joe Led­ley. Re­gard­less of that con­tro­versy, the loss was a ma­jor blow to Tot­ten­ham s hopes of qual­i­fy­ing for the Cham­pi­ons League via a top-four fin­ish in the Premier League as they dropped down to sixth place. But Bel­gium in­ter­na­tional Ver­tonghen hopes the visit of Burn­ley to White Hart Lane will pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity to get back on track quickly, as well as se­cur­ing a fourth round home tie against Le­ices­ter.

Asked if it was a re­al­ity check after the Chelsea win, the Bel­gium in­ter­na­tional said: "Yes. There is no point win­ning against Chelsea and then los­ing at Palace. "I think we were a bit un­lucky. I think we were the bet­ter team. "They dropped off and I think they made the first mis­take, but then we made mis­takes at the end. "We have been very stupid to drop th­ese points. Once again we have failed to jump up to fourth place. "We have to go for fourth place, but we are still play­ing in three other com­pe­ti­tions. Maybe fourth place and a trophy?"

Burn­ley are cur­rently 14 points be­low Tot­ten­ham, and just one place above the rel­e­ga­tion, and would gladly sacrifice an FA Cup run if they could guar­an­tee avoid­ing rel­e­ga­tion from the top-flight. The Clarets lost 2-1 at Spurs in De­cem­ber, but Sean Dy­che s side head to the Lane in con­fi­dent mood after a 2-1 win over fel­low strug­glers QPR on Satur­day. And Scot­tish mid­fielder Scott Ar­field, who opened the scor­ing at Turf Moor, knows a vic­tory against Spurs would give another ma­jor boost to his team s con­fi­dence.

"It was a mas­sive win (against QPR). It s been well doc­u­mented how im­por­tant th­ese sorts of games are go­ing to be," Ar­field said after his first goal since the open­ing game of the sea­son. "The next clutch of games are im­por­tant but none more so than the next one which is Tot­ten­ham away. "It s the FA Cup and that s what you want to be in­volved in so we cer­tainly won t be go­ing down there to make up the num­bers. "It s no less im­por­tant than beat­ing QPR so we ll go there and try to win."

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