Jan Vertonghen believes Tottenham must improve their results against the Premier League’s top teams if they are to secure a top-four finish.
Tottenham finished fifth last season, six points off a Champions League spot having won only two of their eight games against the teams above them.
However, Spurs beat Manchester City 4-1 at White Hart Lane last month before playing out a 0-0 draw against Liverpool, earning them four points they failed to pick up last season.
Vertonghen was upset not to take all three points against Liverpool, however, acknowledging the importance of results against the teams around Spurs in the table.
“We always did well against the smaller teams and this season we want to show we’re ready to compete for the top places,” Vertonghen said.
“I think we need to win these games – like against City at home, Liverpool, the Chelsea game we won last season.
“If you want to compete you have to win against your rivals so it’s a shame we didn’t beat Liverpool.”
Spurs have conceded a league-low seven goals in the Premier League this season, with Vertonghen forming an impressive centre-half partnership with summer signing Toby Alderweireld.
“It’s true our defence is stronger because in the past we lost a lot of games by conceding two, three or even four goals – and against Liverpool and City five or six,” Vertonghen added.
“Now we’re keeping clean sheets, I think we have one of the best defences in the Premier League and hopefully we can start scoring more.
“Toby and me feel very comfortable playing together. He covers me, I cover him, we talk, we help our full-backs and we know what to expect from one another.”