Jan Vertonghen says Tottenham are ready to show they are capable of competing with the best teams in Europe.
A Spurs defence with Vertonghen at its heart has conceded just seven goals in nine Premier League games this season, with four of those coming in 2-2 draws against Stoke City and Swansea City.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men could only manage a 0-0 draw against Liverpool last Saturday, but demonstrated their potential by upsetting leaders Manchester City 4-1 last month.
And Vertonghen knows Tottenham must continue to perform well against the bigger teams if they are to push for Champions League qualification.
“We always did well against the smaller teams and this season we want to show we’re ready to compete for the top places,” he said.
“I think we need to win these games – like against City at home, Liverpool, the Chelsea game we won last season.
“If you want to compete you have to win against your rivals so it’s a shame we didn’t beat Liverpool.
“But it’s true our defence is stronger because in the past we lost a lot of games by conceding two, three or even four goals – and against Liverpool and City five or six.
“Now we’re keeping clean sheets, I think we have one of the best defences in the Premier League and hopefully we can start scoring more.”
The Belgian, along with countrymen Toby Alderweireld and Moussa Dembele, will travel to Brussels on Thursday to face Anderlecht in the Europa League.
Tottenham lead Group J on four points, one ahead of second-placed Qarabag and two ahead of Monaco. Anderlecht are bottom, having failed to win either of their opening two games.