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Now Spurs must turn it on in the big games - Woodgate

PUBLISHED: 08:50 26 November 2009 | UPDATED: 16:34 07 September 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 07:  Jonathan Woodgate of Tottenham Hotspur and Andy Reid of Sunderland battle for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland at White Hart Lane on November 7, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 07: Jonathan Woodgate of Tottenham Hotspur and Andy Reid of Sunderland battle for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland at White Hart Lane on November 7, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

2009 Getty Images

TOTTENHAM have lost their way against the top sides this season and must revive last season's record in the big games, according to Jonathan Woodgate. Spurs travel to Birmingham for a mouth-watering showdown with Aston Villa...

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 22:  Jermain Defoe of Tottenham Hotspur collects the match ball and is congratulated by Jonathan Woodgate after scoring five during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Wigan Athletic at White Hart Lane on November 22, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

By Ben Pearce

TOTTENHAM have lost their way against the top sides this season and must revive last season's record in the big games, according to Jonathan Woodgate.

Spurs travel to Birmingham for a mouth-watering showdown with Aston Villa this weekend, as the Premier League's fourth and fifth-placed sides go head to head in the thrilling race for a top-four finish.

"It's going to be a big game against Villa," he said. "It's not going to decide the top four if they beat us or we beat them, but the bigger the better for our side I think. We perform a lot better against the bigger sides. Maybe this season we haven't done ourselves justice, but hopefully we'll get a result against them."

Despite the Lilywhites' lofty position, Woodgate has watched his team-mates lose three of their four meetings with the 'Big Four' so far this season.

That form guide is in sharp contrast to last season's record, when Tottenham got a result in seven of their 10 meetings with the top four sides in all competitions.

Now back in action after a six-month groin injury, Spurs' centre-back feels that the Lilywhites must rediscover their ability to match the league's elite over 90 minutes.

But he believes that the Lilywhites' 9-1 thumping of Wigan Athletic on Sunday certainly sent a message to the top flight's elite group, and he is full of praise for strikeforce.

"We have to take it game by game but I'm sure the top four will take us seriously," he said. "That's where we want to end up at the end of the season but there's some way to go. I know it's all clichés and we've won 9-1, but there's a massive way to go for us. It's a big ask, it's not going to be easy.

"The attacking performance at the weekend was unbelievable, you just can't believe it when it's happening. We all know, because we've seen the lads in training, how sharp they are. Credit to them, they do a lot of finishing, they do a lot of shooting practice most days after training.

"Jermain Defoe is the sharpest striker not just in the Premier League but probably in the world - he's that sharp and he just doesn't miss! That's put him top of the goalscoring charts as well so full credit to him. He does it in training every day.

"Did I have sympathy for the Wigan defenders? No, I play against these guys in training so I know what it's like. It's not nice for anyone. You just know that you have to be on your guard, and sometimes in training you can get walloped because they're that good.

"Credit to the lads, we kept going and going to see how many goals we could score. I think the crowd helped with that as well because they wanted more.

"For me personally, it's great to be back. Watching the games does your head in! Ask anyone, when you're injured you don't even want to watch.


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