Collins - Villa must not lose
Martin O'Neill has told Aston Villa they cannot afford to lose Saturday's clash with Tottenham.
Last Updated: 04/02/10 10:07am
Martin O'Neill has told his Aston Villa side they cannot afford to lose Saturday's crunch clash with Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
Villa and Spurs are heavily involved in the race for the fourth and final UEFA Champions League place, with Harry Redknapp's men currently in possession.
The Midlands outfit are just two points adrift but with the benefit of a game in hand, while Liverpool and Manchester City are also strongly in contention.
Villa defender James Collins revealed that manager O'Neill has left his side in no doubt about the stature of Saturday's showdown in North London.
Collins said: "The boss has told us how important this game is and if we want to finish in the top four we've to put in a good performance and certainly not lose the game.
"In the next couple of weeks we have tough games like Spurs and Manchester United and after that we can really kick on."
Collins knows Villa's backline will have their work cut out against Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch if they are to maintain their position as the Premier League's meanest defence, with only 18 goals conceded.
He added: "It is going to be tough. Crouchy and Jermain will be a handful, but we have proved we can go to these big clubs and get results.
"We are full of confidence and looking forward to it.
"It is a big game and we are up for it. We are still confident.
"We are in the Carling Cup final and still in the FA Cup and that has given us huge confidence, along with going well in the league."