Antonio Conte has insisted that Tottenham have to concentrate all their efforts until the end of the season on finishing in the top four, with the Spurs boss claiming the team has to look at the challenge like winning a major trophy.

Despite being extremely inconsistent since the turn of the year, Spurs still find themselves well in the race for a top-four spot.

After thrashing Everton 5-0 at home on Monday, the Lilywhites find themselves just three points behind Arsenal in fourth place, although they have played a game more than their North London rivals.

Tottenham have a crucial six-pointer coming up against Manchester United on Sunday, with the Red Devils being one of their direct rivals for the fourth spot, and Conte admitted playing at Old Trafford will not be easy for his side.

The Spurs boss told Football.London after his side’s win over Everton: “I think that I am seeing my work. I am seeing what we are working on every day, what we are trying in this situation where I’m trying to improve them.

“Tonight was good for many aspects but I think also in the other games we played a good game. At the same time, I want to tell you what I said to my players ‘ok this is the past and enjoy the game tonight but from tomorrow you have to think about Saturday’s game against United’.

“They’re a really strong team, a team that in my opinion, a squad that is ready to fight for the Premier League and every competition that they play in. It will be a real challenge for us and I want to see the answer, the answer about my players and also myself.

“Now we have 12 games to play until the end of the season. I listen and you ask me in every press conference about the top-four race. I said to my players that it’s right to take responsibility about this because I think that from when I arrived to now we are stronger.”

Conte admitted he is used to fighting for major honours in his career rather than for Champions League qualification but insisted he is looking at the challenge of finishing fourth like winning silverware.

He said: “In January two players made us more complete. I think that we can fight. We can fight for this target. It’s important to have this ambition and it’s not right to hide our ambition and ok we’ll see what happens.

“We’ll try to do everything and at the end, we’ll see what happens. Now we have only 12 games to play, not a trophy to play for. For this reason, it’s right to take the responsibility, me, myself, I have to be the first.

“You know I don’t like to speak about ambition and reaching a place in the Champions League because I like to play to win the league and win trophies, but in this situation, this could be our Champions League, our Premier League title if we are able to reach fourth place.

“For sure we can improve and we have a lot of space for improvement but now I said to the players that we’ve reached a good level and for this reason now it’s right to take the responsibility and now with United, Arsenal, West Ham and the other teams that want to fight for the top four we have to go into the situation and get the best.”

Spurs Web Opinion

This is the first occasion where Conte has publicly admitted his and the club’s ambition of qualifying for the Champions League.

In previous interviews, he came across as someone who is not willing to spell out the ambition of a top-four finish and put pressure on himself and the team.

However, he has now seemingly realised that finishing fourth is the only realistic target for the remainder of the season and that the players’ full focus should be on that task.

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