Vertonghen protests red card innocence

Last Updated: Sat, 01 Mar 2014 14:24

Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen has defended himself amid accusations he was guilty of play-acting against Dnipro on Thursday.

The Belgium international clashed with goalscorer Roman Zozulya in the second half of the last-32 second-leg clash, which Spurs won 3-1, which resulted in the Dnipro striker being given a red card.

The dismissal infuriated Dnipro's players and coaching staff, with the Ukrainian side feeling the decision cost them progression to the last 16 of the competition as they claimed Vertonghen over-reacted to get him sent off.

However, the defender insists he was not at fault over the incident.

"I had a thing with him (Zozulya) all game long, and in the away game actually. It was fair until then.

"I walked into him, I think, I walked again and he gives me one," said Vertongen. "Then I go down. He gave me a reason to go down and I think it's his fault, not mine.

"It could have been the turning point."

Meanwhile, Vertonghen has echoed Mousa Dembele's recent quotes that Tottenham's dual aim this season is to finish fourth and also win the Europa League.

They trail Liverpool by six points in the race to finish in the Champions League places but no-one at White Hart Lane is giving up on the quest yet.

He added: "The Europa League and fourth is what we want. "We lost last weekend against Norwich but we want to make something nice of this tournament as well.

"Like we saw last year when we reached the quarter finals, we can go far. Eventually, it is a very nice tournament."

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