Roberto Martinez insists his players will be ready for the challenge of taking on a team he considers to be one of the best in the Barclays Premier League, when Latics travel to White Hart Lane to play Tottenham Hotspur this weekend.
It’s been a week of mixed emotions for Martinez after seeing his team disappointingly exit to Capital One Cup on Tuesday night days after picking up their first home win of the season against West Ham United, and the Spaniard says the team’s focus is on picking up where they left off against the Hammers.
He said: “Spurs will be fighting this season for one of those Champions League qualification spots which highlights the strength and size of the team we face this weekend.
“The new signings have brought an edge to what was already a strong side with the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon in the wide areas now complimented with more central players such as Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele.
“Andre Villas-Boas is slowly making his imprint on the side with clear football concepts being put to good use.
“They played a number of youngsters against Norwich City on Wednesday night so we expect to see a completely different side on Saturday.
“I believe they are growing to become one of the best sides in the Premier League and one of the best in Europe.
“We know it’s going to be a tough game for us but our aim is to carry on the good football shown against West Ham United last weekend, taking that level of performance to White Hart Lane to be as good as we can be.
“There are lessons to take from our last two away games against Sunderland and Swansea City, aspects of our game that need to improve if we are to get a positive result on the road.
“Now is the time to bring consistency in performances and results which is where our focus is right now.”
Once again Antolin Alcaraz will miss out with Martinez saying the defender is now setting his sights on the second half of the season after picking up his groin injury whilst on international duty with Paraguay.
He said: “We’re in a similar position to before the West Ham match just with one or two knocks from Tuesday night that won’t disrupt the group too much.
“Antolin Alcaraz is recovering really well but won’t be involved, Ryo Miyaichi is still 50/50 and Albert Crusat is still out with a knee problem.
“Antolin’s has been a long-standing condition since returning from Paraguay but we now know exactly what the problem is, which can sometimes be tricky with groin problems.
“Those soft-tissue injuries take time to heal and we need to be careful that he is only brought back when he is 100% and not risk his fitness further.
“To get there we’re probably looking at five to six weeks before he can be brought back into the team and have a strong second-half to the season, I only want to bring him back when he is ready for it.”