Tough games are why I love football, says Tottenham star Vertonghen

Having experienced a north London derby at White Hart Lane for the first time last week, the defender says his side's ongoing run of difficult fixtures make this a "special time"
Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen says huge clashes with the likes of Arsenal and Inter are the reason for his love of football.

Spurs took a huge step towards sealing Champions League qualification on Sunday with a 2-1 win over their north London rivals at White Hart Lane.

And, with a Europa League meeting with the Nerazzurri preceding a trip to Liverpool, the big games are coming thick and fast for Andre Villas-Boas' men - a fact which the Belgian is relishing.

"This is why we play football," he told the club's official website. "It's a tough week, a tough season, actually.

"We started the week well at West Ham and we needed the win against Arsenal. That was a fantastic and now we prepare for Inter. No doubt it's a special time for the fans as well.”

The 25-year-old went on to reveal that he now understands the importance of the north London derby following his first taste of the rivalry at White Hart Lane last week.

"I only arrived at the club six months ago but you can feel this is one of the most important games of the season," he continued.

"It's my first win in the north London derby, so I'm happy. We had a difficult 30 minutes but we stayed compact, stayed playing as a team and the goals were great for us.

"We said don't concede an early goal in the second half like at [Manchester] United, but we're a very strong team, we can play compact and we showed that again."