Football: Tottenham boss Conte says top-four finish still a possibility

(REUTERS) – Tottenham Hotspur can still qualify for next season’s Champions League following a recent rise in form, manager Antonio Conte told reporters on Friday (April 1).

After a difficult start to the campaign, Spurs have won four of their last five league matches and ended up in fifth place in the table, three points behind Arsenal in fourth place who have one match left.

“We are not the only team that wants to achieve this miracle … there are four teams that are stronger than the others: Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and (Manchester) United,” Conte said ahead of Sunday’s home game against Newcastle United.

“If you ask me about our opportunity to take us to the Champions League (five months ago) I would have said very, very, very difficult but now I think we have to try to fight to the end. We have the opportunity to reach this goal.

“It is important to have this ambition. Playing the Champions League is important to me, it is important for the club, important for the players, for everyone.”

Defender Ben Davies is available for Spurs after withdrawing from Wales’ squad for their friendly against the Czech Republic this week, while midfielders Oliver Skipp and Ryan Sessegnon are also close to returning.

“They are very, very close to being back with the team. They are improving a lot. They have important training sessions, not with the team but apart. I hope next week to have both players back with the team,” said Conte.

Conte supported the Premier League’s move to reintroduce five substitutions from next season but added that teams need to improve their squads to take advantage of the new rule.

“It’s important to know this and in the summer every team needs to know they need to strengthen their squad. With five subs, you can totally change a game in tactical and physical aspects,” said the Italian.

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