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Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen unfazed by West Ham striker threat

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic backs Tottenham as one of the main title contenders ahead of their first derby of the season.

LONDON -- Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen has said he is not afraid of the differing threats posed by West Ham strikers Andy Carroll and Javier Hernandez.

Spurs travel to the London Stadium on Saturday, when they will face a strike pair likely to give a stern test to their new-look three-man defence.

Carroll will offer an aerial threat against Vertonghen, Davinson Sanchez and Toby Alderweireld, while the more diminutive Hernandez buzzes around the penalty area.

Vertonghen told a news conference: "Carroll is a great striker, he's very difficult to play against -- but I think our defence have shown we can play against every type of striker, so I'm not afraid.

"He's a very big guy. He's a fighter. He's very strong in the air, and I think he fits the game that West Ham want to play. He's a good player and a tough player.

"Hernandez is totally different, so I think they can play two styles. Maybe he is not that involved in the game -- but you can't lose him, especially in the box. He is so dangerous."

Spurs have suffered damaging defeats on their last two visits to West Ham, and Vertonghen said they had sensed the hosts raising their game in both those 1-0 defeats.

"We've got that feeling in certain games and it's what makes football beautiful," he added.

"It's a good atmosphere to play there, it's what you're a football player for. So I'm looking forward to it.

"It's a tough game. It's a London derby and it's very hostile, so we have to be ready for it and I feel we are."

The Belgium international said it was a "must win" match after the frustrating stalemate with Swansea at Wembley last weekend and added: "We lost there last season. We were on a great run and it was a difficult game for us.

"They worked defensively and it was hard for us to score. We learned from that, and hopefully we can break them down on Saturday."

Spurs trail early pacesetters Manchester City and Manchester United by five points, but Vertonghen said: "They still have to go to the most difficult places, and they started very well last season.

"Obviously, there are a couple of teams that started well now but I feel that we will get stronger.

"We are still missing a couple of guys. So when they come back, we'll be at our best in different competitions."

Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.

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