Antonio Conte has said that Tottenham face a much tougher fight to finish in the top four this season than they did last campaign.
Not a lot of people would have given Spurs a chance to finish in the Champions League places last season when Nuno Espirito Santo was asked at the start of November following a poor start to the campaign.
However, Conte managed to turn the ship around and the Lilywhites edged out Arsenal in the final couple of matches of the season to secure fourth spot.
Many expected Tottenham to push on this season but following a good start to the campaign, they have struggled to pick up consistent results recently.
Apart from the traditional members of the ‘big six’, Newcastle United have also shown that they have the talent to vie for a Champions League spot this season.
Conte has now insisted that Spurs’ achievement to finish fourth last season was ‘undervalued’ and that doing so is going to be a lot harder for his side this season, given the increased competition for the four spots.
The Tottenham head coach told Football.London: “For sure I think to finish in the top four was a really big achievement for us. I think many, many people undervalued this achievement but I can tell you that it was a massive achievement for us.
“In England, it is not simple. You are seeing it this season. This season will be really, really difficult for many clubs. For all the clubs to finish top four, to finish in the Europe zone. For this reason, I can tell you it was a really big achievement.
“Now arrives the difficulty for us. At this moment United, Chelsea and Liverpool are not in the top four. You are finding other teams. Arsenal are showing to be a really strong team. Don’t forget Arsenal last season with three games to go, they had four points more than us.
“In the final rush, we were good to overcome them. Now I think they are showing to be really, really strong. Then there is City and Newcastle is another club that is growing year by year to become a title contender, a real danger for the Premier League title.
“For top four, (there are) other clubs also like Aston Villa. I think it will be very, very difficult for this reason. We have to know this. I’m trying to push my players to understand that this season will much more difficult than last season.
“That we have to try to continue to improve, to push ourselves. I see a lot of competition in every level and for this reason, we have to be ready and to be strong because for sure we have to fight a lot.”
Spurs Web Opinion
It is not just the increased competition from the likes of Man Utd and Newcastle that makes a top-four spot harder but also the fact that we have Champions League football to contend with. That is one of the main reasons why Conte will be keen to add more reinforcements to his squad in January.
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