Spurs defender claims he had sleepless nights leading up to the Liverpool match

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

It is rare that you are able to take such a big positive from a 1-0 loss at home, but the defeat against Liverpool this month had plenty of Spurs fans talking.

Jose Mourinho had decided to surprise football fans everywhere by naming young Japhet Tanganga in defence against the league leaders at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

He lined up in a back three with Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez, with Danny Rose and Serge Aurier providing the width.

While the 20-year-old with faced with the prospect of marking Sadio Mane as a centre-back and then Mo Salah as a left-back, he stood up to the challenge well.

The academy graduate was one of Tottenham’s better defenders in the match and kept Mane quiet for the vast majority.

However, he has now admitted that he had trouble sleeping leading up to the game, although his teammates had been very encouraging in training.

He said (Football London): “Obviously beforehand [I was thinking] those two are probably up there with the best. Obviously Mane’s the African Player of the Year. He’s a great player, Salah’s a great player.

“But leading into the game, the boys were just encouraging me. They were telling me Sonny’s a great player as well. You come up against him in training. Harry Kane, Lucas Moura – they’re top players so you’ve just got to handle them the way you’ve been doing in training.

“Personnel wise they’re different but they’re still at the high level and you’re doing it every day so you should be able to handle it.

“Leading it up it, yeah. A couple of times I barely slept. But as a footballer, no matter if it’s your debut, you’ve got to concentrate, you’re out there to do a job.

“There’s a reason the manager chose me and he wants me to do a certain job. So I can’t be thinking about the nerves.

“As soon as I got in the tunnel, I was fine. On the day I was OK. No nerves, I was OK.”

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