Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has compared qualifying for the Champions League in England to winning a title in another country.
Spurs are chasing down fourth-placed Arsenal with three games of the campaign to go and will be hoping to reduce the gap to the Gunners to one point with a win in tomorrow’s high-stakes north London derby.
But visitors Arsenal could seal their return to the Champions League on the night and put Spurs at arm’s length if they secure three points in N17.
Conte has frequently highlighted the challenge Spurs face in trying to narrow the gap in quality between themselves runaway title contenders Liverpool and Manchester City, and the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United (ESPN).
And ahead of his side’s crucial clash, the Italian coach, who has won plenty of silverware with Chelsea, Juventus and Inter Milan, again admitted it would be a ‘big achievement’ if Spurs managed to claim a top four berth this term.
Conte told the Evening Standard: “To take a place in the Champions League in England is very, very difficult and this season [Manchester] United missed qualification.
“Otherwise, in my mind, you start with the four teams at the top. At the start, the race for the Champions League seems close, four teams — City, Liverpool, United and Chelsea.
“Then during the season, someone can be in trouble and you have to be ready to stay there. It happened this season. We are trying with Arsenal to find a position in the Champions League but in England, it’s like winning a title in another country. It is a big achievement.”
Spurs Web Opinion
The derby is a big match without this much on the line and a place in the Champions League at stake should mean it is going to be a very competitive contest.
That final spot in the top four has been contested mainly by four teams this season and Spurs have done well to extend their fight in it right up to this point.
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