Speaking to the press ahead of Tottenham Hotspur’s game with Southampton, manager Antonio Conte has described the difficult and unpredictable nature of chasing a spot in the Premier League’s top four.
After their victory over Nottingham Forest last weekend, Tottenham are currently sitting in the highly-coveted fourth place with 48 points from 27 games, just two points behind third-placed Manchester United who have played a game less.
In the chasing pack, Newcastle United occupy fifth spot with 44 points, having played 25 games.
Liverpool have 42 points from 26 games, but Brighton are behind them on goal difference only and have a game in hand. In short, the battle for Champions League places is intense this year.
Spurs face relegation-threatened Southampton next, and will be hoping to put further distance between themselves and those behind them.
Liverpool, Brighton, and Manchester United do not play this weekend due to FA Cup scheduling.
Conte commented on the race for the top four and reiterated just how challenging the final part of this campaign is going to be with all those teams fighting for one spot.
He told Football.London: “For sure to finish in the top four is a really good achievement for every club in the Premier League.
“You can see the table and you can see there are important teams that in the past won trophies, important trophies and now they’re struggling.”
“Don’t forget other teams like Brighton, who have important players in the club and are on a good run. Brentford also are having a fantastic season, then Newcastle, Liverpool and I don’t forget Chelsea.
“There is also United in this race. For sure it will be a good achievement to finish in Europe this season, like last season.”
The Spurs boss was keen to look to the past for lessons that can be learned, adding: “Don’t forget that Liverpool last season until the end of the season they were on a fantastic run to win everything.
“They lost in the Champions League final and finished second, one point behind City. They won the FA Cup and Carabao Cup. We are talking about a big team. Then it shows that in one season you can struggle.
“Chelsea won their last Premier League with me. It can happen. This type of situation, Liverpool situation, underlines the difficulty of the Premier League.
“It’s the most difficult league. Guardiola said he knows that every game you have to battle. Football is going to become like the NBA and we have to be ready for it.”
Spurs Web Opinion
It really is an incredibly competitive fight for the top four this year, perhaps more so than we’ve seen in a very long time.
It’s too close to call, so all we can do is hope that Spurs take advantage of their upcoming fixtures and put themselves in a strong position going into the final few games.
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