Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas says he has addressed Jan Vertonghen’s unwillingness to play at left-back, adding that the centre-back position will be his as soon as Danny Rose returns from injury.
• Crace: AVB could tweak Spurs lineup
Vertonghen, 26, stated during the international break that the full-back role “doesn’t suit” him and that he just has to accept it, but the club “know how much” he wants to play at centre-back.
Villas-Boas says he understands where the Belgium international is coming from, but claims it is only the situation now because of the injury to left-back Rose, who is expected to return in the next “two or three weeks.”
"We spoke about this before,” Villas-Boas said. “Jan is a central defender, he's one of the best central defenders in the world. Unfortunately, due to conditions, he has to sacrifice himself at the moment at left-back.
“It's not a new story so I'm not going to go along continuing it. I've spoken to him and the conversation is very open. The place at centre-back is his as soon as Danny Rose comes back, and he knows that, so at the moment it's a situation where for the good of the team he is competing with [Kyle] Naughton and Zeki [Fryers] and at the moment we have chosen him ahead of Naughton and Zeki.
“The best for the team is more important than anything else and at the moment it's a sacrifice he has to make. We understand that he makes that sacrifice and that's why we respect him a lot and that's why we have made him captain this season."
Villas-Boas, who says he will not look to sign an extra full-back in January, revealed that Emmanuel Adebayor is back in contention for a place in the squad and may even feature this weekend away to Manchester City.
"Obviously Ade hasn't had the chance to get back into the team yet. I'm sure that whenever that happens he will perform as well as the other ones,” he said. “The three of them [including Roberto Soldado and Jermain Defoe] are competing extremely well in training. Our likely approach is to go with one up front.
“It's a decision that I have to take, which one I will choose. They are very near each other at the moment and it could be a possibility that even Ade could play that game. These are all decisions that we have to take.
“We don't have enough reasons at the moment not to trust Soldado and Defoe because they've been excellent, with great performances, goals and great goal tallies at the moment, so hopefully it's a decison that's best for the team and best for the strategy."
Villas-Boas added that he will not change the team’s style and play two up front against City in order to end the club’s difficulties in front of goal.
“We've trained with 4-4-2 during this international break, we played a game against a local team over here last Friday playing 4-4-2,” he said. “We probably can move to it in future.
“I'm unsure if this is the right time, bearing in mind the fixtures that we have, coming up against Manchester City and Manchester United, if this is the right time to change. We have been very consistent defensively and offensively -- not in terms of goals but in terms of chances created in the system, 4-2-3-1. That's probably our way through.
“We tried a little bit with [Roberto] Soldado and [Emmanuel] Adebayor up front in a 4-4-2 shape. We did it all of last season so it's not something that we need to lose lots of time with, it comes naturally, the players know it, it's also part of this country's culture and I think when I would want to revert to that system I will.
The Spurs boss also said that he felt the second half display in the recent 1-0 defeat to Newcastle was the team’s “best football of the season”.
“It [the Newcastle game] was very frustrating because it was just before the international break,” he said. “We have ourselves to blame because the first half was appalling. Still in the first half we had chances to at least equal the game.
"Second half was extraordinary, probably the best football we have played all season but not enough to turn the game around so it was frustrating because we are left always on the door of going second or third in the league giving that extra motivation from a place in the table like that but we haven’t had the results recently.”