Jan Vertonghen believes Tottenham can do “something special” over the coming years if head coach Mauricio Pochettino remains in charge.
This has been a season to remember at White Hart Lane, where Spurs have built on a promising first campaign under the former Argentina international by challenging for the title.
Surprise leaders Leicester’s seven-point cushion makes them strong favourites to win the Premier League, but Spurs’ panache and substance has kept them in with a shout.
Sunday’s 3-0 defeat of Champions League hopefuls Manchester United underlined their quality, which the Spurs head coach believes will only improve in the long-term.
Pochettino said it is “impossible to set the limit on just what this group of players could achieve” and Vertonghen agrees wholeheartedly.
“Absolutely,” the two-time Eredivisie champion at Ajax said when asked whether they had the spirit and ability to win the title.
“If you feel the spirit in this team, it is something special at the training ground, in between the players. It’s everywhere.
“If you feel the buzz around the club, it’s something I haven’t experienced before in this way.
“I am extremely excited. It is something I have never experienced before and we have to keep this together.
“Not just the players, the squad as well, the crowd and then nice things can happen.”
Vertonghen on why Spurs must keep Pochettino
There still remains a chance of silverware this term, although the bookmakers’ odds of 5/1 highlight the challenge Spurs face with five matches left.
The north London club could also soon face the challenge of swatting away interest from Europe’s elite as Pochettino’s standing in the game grows.
Sunday’s win will have certainly caught Manchester United’s eye and Vertonghen believes Pochettino is key to the bright future at White Hart Lane.
“For me it is vital,” he said. “To keep this thing going, he has to stay.
“I think everyone wants him to stay and he feels that – that we want to fight for him and that this team is the best thing for him so I hope he stays.”
The former Argentina defender has almost certainly led Tottenham back into the Champions League, while they are on course to finish above Arsenal for the first time in 21 years.
But it is the title they really want and that is not something they have given up on, despite Leicester’s seven-point buffer.
“We have to believe,” Vertonghen. “I think we showed belief on the pitch and obviously Leicester, compliments to them, but we have to try and chase them.
“For us, personally, it is important to win these games, to show the rest of the Premier League that we don’t give up.
“That we’re there and we’re ready for next season as well. We will try to compete on every level and I think this team is capable of doing that.”
Vertonghen was respectful when asked about Leicester but believes Tottenham are the “best team in the league at the moment” – something he is better placed than many to say.
As well as being part of the group, the Belgium international has spent nearly three months watching from the sidelines due to a knee injury.
Vertonghen’s return got somewhat lost in the excitement of Sunday’s match, with his seamless reintroduction bringing another clean sheet.
“Hard,” the defender said when asked how it has been to watch from the sidelines. “It is quite hard to be injured, especially when they are doing so well.
“When they’re not doing well you want to help them, of course, as well, so it is great to see them do well like this.
“I am very happy with the first game to come back. I am very pleased to be back.
“I felt very good, very confident. It was a great team to play (with) making it easier for me to come back.”