Jan Vertonghen Reveals Reasons for Spurs' High Line When Defending Free-Kicks
Jan Vertonghen has revealed why Tottenham opt to hold such a high line when defending free-kicks.
Spurs have caught the eye with their unorthodox positioning when facing set-pieces under Mauricio Pochettino, adopting an approach similar to that of Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.
And centre-back Vertonghen has pointed out that one of the main reasons is to allow goalkeeper Hugo Lloris more space to work in.
"The goalkeeper wants space in front of him," he told Sky Sports. "He wants to come out.
"It's harder to score from a header on the edge of the box than a header on the six yard box. And it's about body shape, you have to be ready to defend the space. When the other team start running, we start running.
"Last season we conceded a couple, but the season before I think we defended very well. We're not the biggest in the league but because of our body shape and the way we defend the space we are very good at defending set pieces."
Vertonghen added that he and defensive partner Toby Alderweireld are predominantly tasked with organising the line on free-kicks.
"Hugo is always screaming 'push up' because he wants more room for himself," the Belgian defender said.
"You defend an imaginary line, so you have to be confident. You might sometimes want to drop back to feel comfortable but you have to believe in the system."
Asked if right-back Kieran Trippier will be able to seamlessly slot in to the defensive system having deputised for Kyle Walker last season, Vertonghen said: "He knows how it works, he's used to the line.
"He's got strong players in front of him and everyone is very confident that he can be the main man at right-back for us this year."