London (AFP) – Antonio Conte says the Champions League can “change your life” as he seeks to strengthen Tottenham’s grip on a top-four place in the Premier League.
Spurs can go six points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal, at least for a few hours, if they beat Brighton at home in the early Premier League kick-off on Saturday.
Tottenham, who have won their past four league games, are favourites to secure fourth place in the Premier League, which would secure a spot in Europe’s top club competition for next season.
They are currently three points clear of Arsenal having played a game more, and six ahead of West Ham and Manchester United.
Conte said on Thursday that watching this week’s Champions League action had whetted his appetite to be involved.
“Arsenal, United, West Ham, Wolverhampton are in this same race with us, but we want to fight until the end and we will see what happens at the end of the season,” he said.
“You know very well Champions League is a competition every club, every player, every manager wants to play in.
“For this reason it’s important to have this great goal because (it can) change your life if next season you are going to play in Champions League instead to play Europa League, instead to play Conference League or instead you play nothing in this type of competition.
“This situation has to give us a great push and great desire to finish the season the best possible way.”
Conte will be on the bench on Saturday after recovering from a recent bout of coronavirus.
The Italian tested positive following last weekend’s 4-0 win at Aston Villa after complaining of mild symptoms.
“For sure it was a strange week for me and also the players, as they’re used to having training sessions with me,” he said. “Not only with my staff.
“But it’s OK because my staff are doing a great job. I attended the sessions from a distance, and I think on Saturday I stay with my players on the bench.”
Matt Doherty will not be involved after the right wing-back was ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury picked up at Aston Villa.
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