Antonio Conte has admitted that qualifying for the Champions League could have a major impact on Tottenham ahead of next season.
Tottenham needed to get all three points in the North London Derby to give themselves a realistic chance of finishing in the top four, and the Lilywhites certainly delivered as they put three past Arsenal without reply.
Spurs will now have a chance to go two points clear of their North London rivals with a win over Burnley on Sunday before the Gunners take to the pitch at St James’ Park on Monday night.
However, finishing in the top four is still not in Tottenham’s hands. Conte’s men might have to settle for a place in next season’s Europa League even if they win both their remaining matches, as long as Arsenal also win their fixtures.
When asked about the impact of spending another season out of the Champions League, the Tottenham head coach told Football.London: “For sure this is a possibility.
“In this moment, I think to fight for a place in the Champions League is a big achievement for us, but at the same time, maybe we can fight to stay for a place in the Europa League.
“We are doing something important for this club and in England, it’s not easy to play for a place in the Champions League.
“For sure, for Manchester United haven’t made it and for us, it’s very difficult to fight for the top four. We had to be honest and say there was a lot of room for improvement. We can still arrive finishing fourth or fifth but it’s a good achievement, both places.
“In England, you say the club is in a transition moment and for sure there is a lot of space for improvement if we want to fight for a place in the Champions League, to be a contender to fight for the title.”
Conte underlined how big an achievement it would be for his team to squeeze into the top four, given the relative strength of some of their rivals.
He added: “We need to improve a lot, a lot, to improve the quality of our squad and the numbers in our squad. At this moment, we are fighting with 14 players and 14 players is a tiny squad.
“For this reason, we have to be proud. The players have to be proud because the players made a great improvement and they deserve to play for a place in the Champions League.
“Our target is this because we know very well that the Champions League changes your life, for the club, the fans, the manager, the players.
“The players want to play the best competition, the manager wants to play the best competition and for this reason, I repeat I’m very happy for the improvement we have, but it’s not enough, not enough.
“It’s not in our hands, the qualification is in the hands of Arsenal because if they win their two games then they play in the Champions League.
“We have to be ready to exploit it if they don’t win the two games, but my players deserve to have the chance to fight for a place in the Champions League because we show in this season that we are much better than the others.”
Spurs Web Opinion
If we do finish fifth, despite winning our two remaining matches, I can make my peace with that. Missing out on the Champions League could potentially help us concentrate our efforts on doing as well as possible in the Premier League this season.
However, were Arsenal to slip up in one of their two games and we fail to capitalise, that will leave an extremely sour taste in the mouth for the rest of the summer. So, we need to be completely focused on doing our job against Burnley and Norwich, and end the season on a high.
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