Defour ready for difficult night against Dembele

Clarets midfielder Steven Defour comes up against a number of familiar faces in the Spurs side on Saturday night at Turf Moor.

Thursday, 21st December 2017, 10:00 am
Updated Thursday, 21st December 2017, 10:05 am
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And he expects a particularly difficult challenge against one in particular.

The Belgium international is likely to take on two of three teammates in Roberto Martinez’s squad, in centre back Jan Vertonghen and midfielder Mousa Dembele, though another, Toby Alderweireld, is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury until the New Year.

Defour revealed the trio have been impressed with Burnley’s performances this season, praising Sean Dyche’s side when they have got together on international duty.

The Clarets go into the game a point and a place above Spurs in the table, and Defour admits he is suprised with how well the season is going.

Asked if he could imagine being above Spurs as we reach the halfway stage of the Premier League season, Defour said: “I’d be lying if I said I expected it. We’re playing a good season, at this point there’s no luck involved or it’s not like a decent start, it’s consistency.

“We’re very happy about it. We always believe in our quality, this year we improved and we progressed and hopefully we can continue like this.”

That improvement has caught Spurs’ Belgium contingent’s eye: “In the beginning of the season they were a bit surprised because we moved up our game. Last year it was all about battling and trying to get some points.

“This year they’re saying we’re playing decent football also. It’s a big compliment, every time I went to the national team they were talking about Burnley, so it’s nice to see.”

Defour is an ever-present in the Premier League, and is enjoying his football again after a difficult first season with the club.

He feels part of the unit now, and said: “The group mentality is the best I’ve been in in my career. It’s a whole group, it’s not a few different groups. Everybody is working to get the results, even the guys who don’t always play they come in and show they are very important also. That’s a big thing this season.

“We’ve been on a few drinks this season, it makes us stronger and we all can get together outside of football it really helps, that’s why you’re fighting for each other on the football field.”

And on facing Dembele tomorrow? “It could be a difficult evening, Mousa is one of the strongest midfielders I’ve seen. Unfortunately he had some injuries with his ankle but if he stays fit he’s one of the best midfielders.”