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Aston Villa's Axel Tuanzebe targeting 'statement' win over Championship top dogs Leeds

Axel Tuanzebe has called on Villa to send a message to the rest of the Championship by beating leaders Leeds on Sunday.

Axel Tuanzebe in action for Villa. Photo: Dave Birt.
Axel Tuanzebe in action for Villa. Photo: Dave Birt.

The centre-back is eager for Dean Smith’s men to return to winning ways following Saturday’s frustrating 2-2 draw at home to Stoke.

Though the result extended Villa’s unbeaten run to seven matches, they remain three points outside the top six and Tuanzebe’s attention has already turned to the visit of the Whites, who have won five straight.

He said: “Beating the league leaders would send a message out there. That is our next target and we will be working hard this week to come up with a way to do it.

“It will be tough. I don’t think we should expect anything less. But we will be going out to win. We don’t care who you are, what team we are playing against. We will always go out to win.”

Tuanzebe continued: “The rest of the division will all be watching. It’s a big game.

“Anyone can beat anyone else in this league but winning this one would deliver a big statement and get us back on track.

“They are a big club and we are a big club. It will be two titans thrashing it out.”

Villa twice came from behind to claim a point against the Potters in a game played in bitterly cold and wet conditions.

Though disappointed with the result, Tuanzebe felt the team also passed a test of character.

“When it is wet and windy like it was on Saturday, you see the true characters come out,” he said.

“Coming back twice from behind, we don’t give up or throw the towel in when the going is tough.

“It shows you how together the team is. We don’t stop, we don’t give up until the final whistle.

“The fans were behind us, which helped even more because it was a cold and wet game.

“Coming back twice shows good character and strong beliefs. We need to continue that.”

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