Antonio Conte (Getty Images)
Tottenham manager Antonio Conte thinks it will be a ‘miracle’ if his side qualify for next season’s Champions League.
The Spurs are three points behind number four Arsenal, after fighting their way back into the race to finish in the top four.
Manchester United are one point behind Conte’s men in fifth place, with both teams having played a game more than the Gunners.
Tottenham could temporarily climb above Arsenal if they beat Newcastle by two goals on Sunday before their north London rivals visit Crystal Palace on Monday.
But Conte still believes it would be a miraculous feat for Tottenham to reach the Champions League after a mixed season in which the Italian was hired in November to replace sacked Nuno Espirito Santo.
“Before it is good to underline that this target is very, very difficult. We are not the only team that wants to try to do this miracle,” Conte told reporters on Friday.
“There is also Arsenal, who have an advantage at the moment, and then there is United. United are the team that has struggled a lot this season.”
“There is a top four, who are stronger clubs than the others at the moment for many reasons. Chelsea, Liverpool, City and United. Last season Liverpool struggled to reach a Champions League place.”
“Then Liverpool has taken this place. And this season it depends on United. Right now we are among the teams that have to try to stay very close and take advantage if someone fails this season.”
Frustrated by a string of poor results and a difficult transfer window in January, Conte has hinted he could leave Tottenham in February.
However, four wins in their last five league games have put Tottenham’s season back on track.
And finding a way to qualify for the Champions League would completely change the mood of the volatile Italian.
“If you ask me about the past, about our possibility of reaching a place in the Champions League, I could say that it would be very difficult,” said Conte.
“Now, after five months, I see a big improvement in my team and we have to fight to the end.
“Playing the Champions League next season is important to me, the club, the players, the fans. Everyone.
“Because playing Champions League is completely different from Europa League or Europa Conference League or not playing in the UEFA competition.”