Sunday 25 February 2018

O'Neill: Spurs tie is huge for us

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has warned his players that they can't afford to slip up against Tottenham at White Hart Lane today.

Defeat for Villa would leave them five points adrift of Tottenham and seriously hamper their push for a place in the Champions League next season.

Villa, boosted by the return of striker John Carew after a four-match absence with a knee injury, are hoping to pull off a second successive win in the capital following their impressive 2-0 victory at Fulham last week.

"The Tottenham game is a big, big game for us," O'Neill said. "Tottenham have been going great. They are a very fine side as they proved here at Villa Park not so long ago.

"It is up to us but I think we are a fine side ourselves. The results we have had recently may not completely have reflected the manner in which we have played.

"I'm thinking in particular about the games we had against Liverpool and West Ham when we might easily have had four points and finished with one. We were back on track again against Fulham. That was a difficult game for us to negotiate and it is up to us do the same against Tottenham."

O'Neill knows that if they are to have any chance of winning, Villa will have to stop in-form striker Jermain Defoe.

"Defoe is playing exceptionally well," he said. "He is a proper goalscorer but don't forget Peter Crouch, a player Aston Villa had in their ranks not so long ago, who is also is a top-quality player. I think the combination of the two of them has always been difficult as they are two very talented players."

Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa,

Live, ESPN, 5.30

Irish Independent

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