EXCLUSIVE: 'Perhaps Liverpool thought we were another kind of Spurs team' – Micky van de Ven on epic win, life in north London

Micky van de Ven holds off Mohamed Salah during Tottenham's 2-1 win over Liverpool in the Premier League in September 2023.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Several times during Saturday's match against Liverpool the Spurs crowd could be heard chanting Micky van de Ven’s name to the tune of KC & The Sunshine Band’s Give It Up. It's the same song which was used for fellow Dutchman and fan favourite Rafael van der Vaart in the early 2010s and, after only a few months at the club, Van de Ven has already been embraced by the Spurs faithful.

On Saturday, his song echoed around the stands of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after several defensive clearances, either by timely interceptions or after outsprinting opponents as the central defender showcased one of his main characteristics: his blistering speed.

Van de Ven also radiates calm when building up from the back and has already formed a good understanding with Cristian Romero. When the Argentine makes a forward run, the Dutch defender automatically stays back and vice versa. They seem well attuned to each other.

"We can sense what the other one is doing," Van de Ven told FourFourTwo after the game. "If he goes forward, he has to know that I have his back. And if I go forward, then I know that he covers me. It’s just that feeling that you have with each other which aligns us on the pitch. It's like an automatism."

Spurs started Saturday's game well but Liverpool gave a good account of themselves in what would prove a challenging match for them in terms of refereeing decisions. 

"Liverpool has a really good team," he said. "I think we were strong on the ball; our positional play was certainly good. We both had some chances, I think we were evenly matched. But I think Liverpool thought we were another kind of Spurs team then they were used to come up against."

Cristian Romero celebrates with his Tottenham team-mates as Spurs beat Liverpool in added time in the Premier League in September 2023.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Under Ange Postecoglou, Spurs have deployed an adventurous blend of football with a high press, which was visible against Liverpool as well. They were helped in their attacking quest when the Reds received a red card halfway the first half. But Van de Ven realised that offered no guarantees.

"Liverpool also won at Newcastle with 10 men, so then you know it’s a good team," he said. "You just have to be on your guard. And they did score the 1-1 with 10 men. Luckily we scored the 2-1 at the very end."

All three goals were preceded by a Luis Diaz strike which was wrongly disallowed for offside, though, with the Professional Game Match Officials Limited [PGMOL] admitting after the game the Colombian's effort should have been awarded through VAR intervention.

"I heard about it from a friend afterwards, who had been watching the game," Van de Ven said. “I don’t know how it happened, but I can’t say much more about it."

For much of the afternoon, the man who made things tick for Tottenham was James Maddison. The England international set up Richarlison with a defence-splitting pass which allowed the Brazilian to square for Son Heung-min as Spurs took the lead and 15 minutes into the second half an identical situation happened as the three combined again to net – only to see this one ruled out for offside.

"He's one of the best players I have played with so far [in my career]," Van de Ven said of Maddison. "A fantastic footballer. We have a lot of good players, but if you talk about one who can create something out of nothing, then that's James."

Spurs kept pushing and were helped when Diogo Jota received his second yellow card of the match after 69 minutes. Still, Liverpool seemed set to hold out for a point, partly thanks to several impressive saves from Alisson, but the Reds ultimately surrendered when Joel Matip's attempted clearance from a Pedro Porro cross ended up in the back of his own net deep in added time. It meant all three points remained in north London.

Micky van de Van celebrates with Pape Matar Sarr and Brennan Johnson as Tottenham beat Sheffield United deep into added time in the Premier League in September 2023.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It was reminiscent of two weeks ago, when Spurs won against Sheffield United deep into stoppage time as well. The victory against Liverpool means Spurs keep their 100% record at home and Ange Postecoglou's side are second in the table now.

Just like the club, Van de Ven has made a flying start to the season as well, with the Dutch defender getting into the team straight after his transfer from Wolfsburg and playing every minute since. Despite all that, the 22-year-old is taking nothing for granted.

"The Premier League is of the highest level and you often see that players are kept out of the team at first, or that they rotate a bit," he said. "But so far I've kept my place. I feel the trust of the manager and it's up to me to show that I can do it. I think it has been going well so far."

Given the number of times his name is chanted by Spurs fans, that definitely seems to be the case.

More Tottenham stories

Tottenham's epic victory over Sheffield United last month was the latest comeback win in Premier League history.

Ange Postecoglou's side followed up that win with a spirited 2-2 draw at Arsenal in the North London derby and James Maddison believes the club are shaking off their 'Spursy' image this season.

Maddison has been at the heart of Tottenham's success this season and the England midfielder was named as the signing of the summer by football agents.

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