Conte coy on potential Tottenham return for Eriksen
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Tottenham manager Antonio Conte claims that winning every game for the remainder of the season, as demanded by club captain Harry Kane, is ‘impossible’. Spurs’ campaign all boils down to the next few weeks with the race for Champions League qualification hanging in the balance, and a clash against Arsenal on May 12 could make the difference.
Taking just one point from recent matches against Brentford and Brighton has left Tottenham out of the top-four driving seat. A sombre Kane admitted earlier this week that his side would probably have to put together a 100 per cent record to round off the season if they are to realise their Champions League ambitions.
“There are five games left and we feel like we are pretty much going to have to win all of them to get that spot,” he said, “We are more than capable of doing that, we believe in that and that is what we’ll try and do.”
Ever the realist, Conte dished out a cold dose of reality to Spurs fans ahead of their Sunday afternoon clash with Leicester City. A number of tough assignments, including Liverpool away, have prompted the Italian to rubbish claims that he could inspire five wins from five.
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“I think if you win five games, probably you get a place in Champions League,” he admitted, “But in England it’s impossible to think that in every game, you are going to win. You won’t. We have to go step by step, and game by game.
“On Sunday we face Leicester and you know very well they have a really good squad. For sure it will be a difficult game. We have to go step by step and understand that this is a big opportunity for us and we have to face every game with great enthusiasm, great passion and with joy. Also to share this joy with our fans because we are fighting for something special. For this reason, this type of situation has to give us a lot of energy for the final games of the season.”
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Spurs are two points behind the Gunners with five matches to play, heaping extra importance on the upcoming North London Derby. The last time the sides met, at the Emirates in September last year, Arsenal romped to a 3-1 victory courtesy of goals from Emile Smith Rowe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka.
The race for fourth place has ebbed and flowed all season, but a string of impressive results have given Arsenal the upper hand. Back-to-back wins over Chelsea and Manchester United came at the perfect time, while Conte and co were left kicking themselves at dropped points against seemingly overmatched opponents.
The Tottenham boss is set to demand significant transfer investment from chairman Daniel Levy this summer, who will be keen to stop him from walking away. Conte’s cries for funding would surely go down better if he pulls off a fourth-place finish.
The 52-year-old has rubbished claims that he has offered his services to Paris Saint-Germain, who are set to part company with Mauricio Pochettino. But Spurs will have to meet his ambitions, which involve more than just vying for the top four, to avoid him jumping ship much like he did at Inter Milan last season.
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