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Vertonghen: Bale not irreplaceable

18 December 2012-PA Sport

Jan Vertonghen believes Tottenham Hotspur's victory over Swansea City proves it can flourish without winger Gareth Bale.

Tottenham climbed to fourth in the Premier League after Vertonghen fired it to a 1-0 triumph with his first goal in the competition at White Hart Lane.

Bale has been sidelined for two weeks with a hamstring injury and failed to make the squad against Swansea and Tottenham is criticised for its lack of penetration in the Wales winger's absence.

But Vertonghen, a £12 million ($18.43 million) northern summer signing from Ajax, believes Clint Dempsey has proved a capable deputy.

"Maybe we needed a little more width on the pitch but Clint has replaced Gareth very well, like he has done with all the strikers already," he said.

"Of course Gareth is a world class player, but we did well without him.

"We have a big squad but have had too many injuries. But even without those players we've played quite well. When everybody comes back we'll have a very strong team."

Vertonghen insists the victory has set Tottenham up for a Christmas schedule that begins against Stoke City at White Hart Lane this weekend and also includes fixtures against Aston Villa, Sunderland and Reading.

"We needed to win our two matches games, this being the first one. It's important to enter Christmas with a good feeling," the 25-year-old said.

"We did okay against Swansea. We know Swansea are a good passing team but we put them under pressure and created a lot of chances."

Just as pleasing as Tottenham's third clean sheet of the season was its refusal to concede the type of late goal that has hamstrung it under manager Andre Villas-Boas.

In its 24 matches this season, it has been breached 13 times in the last 15 minutes and had its matches finished at 80 minutes, it would be top of the table.

"We've conceded too many goals in the last 10 minutes, we know that. We have to keep our focus for 95 minutes," Vertonghen said.

"We talked about not conceding late goals and last week was a perfect example. We concentrated very hard.

"It would have been nice to win 2-0 but we didn't give them many chances."

Six seasons spent at Ajax before joining Tottenham has conditioned Vertonghen to a winter break, but he is happy to change his routine and play over Christmas.

"I love the winter break and it would be welcome because of the amount of games I play," he said.

"But it's tradition and there are amazing atmospheres on Boxing Day and January 1. I love playing football so I don't really care. My family will come over for a few days."

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