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Woodgate's challenge to Spurs: prove we belong in top four

PUBLISHED: 12:22 16 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:04 07 September 2010

JONATHAN Woodgate this week challenged his Spurs team-mates to show they are a top four team next season. The Tottenham centre-half, who has become the club s first-choice defender since his £8million transfer from Middlesbrough in January, expects boss J

JONATHAN Woodgate this week challenged his Spurs team-mates to show they are a top four team next season.

The Tottenham centre-half, who has become the club's first-choice defender since his £8million transfer from Middlesbrough in January, expects boss Juande Ramos to ring the changes in his first full season in charge.

Sunday's listless final day defeat to Liverpool left Spurs 11th in the table and Woodgate admitted the finale angered the Spanish boss.

"Ramos is not happy," Woodgate told Wood&Vale Sport. "The players aren't happy. Since the Carling Cup win we have not played well at all and it is not good enough. Next season, if we want to be a top side and if we want to break into the top four or get into the Uefa Cup or the Champions League, we have to start pulling our socks up."

Spurs recorded just three wins in their last 12 games following the Carling Cup win over Chelsea. Under previous boss Martin Jol, Tottenham recorded back-to-back fifth place finishes and were tipped to finish in the top four this season. But since the Carling triumph, the Lilywhites's league form flopped.

"We have players of Champions League quality but there's no point in saying it every week, we have to prove it," said Woodgate, who headed the Wembley winner against Chelsea.

"At the moment we are not. What's the point of competing if you go into a season looking to finish fifth? We want to try to get into the Champions League, that's the benchmark."

Woodgate admitted that Spurs were well beaten by Liverpool on Sunday, adding: "They are a top side and showed why they are better than us. We've got a lot of improving to do. They finished 20-odd points ahead of us and that is a big difference.

"But we will have a big go next season. I'm sure the chairman Daniel Levy will back the manager to buy some more players to build a strong squad here. It's going to be tough but we need to improve every year."

Tom Huddlestone, included in the senior England squad for the first time, was drafted into the England Under-21 squad for last night's friendly against Wales.

Martin Jol was this week appointed as the new manager of Hamburg on a two-year deal.

pat.mooney@hamhigh.co.uk


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