Antonio Conte compared finishing in the top-four to winning the Champions League or the Premier League, insisting that fourth place is Tottenham’s target.

Tottenham kept up the pressure on their top-four rivals with a resounding victory over Everton on Monday. In recent weeks, there has been plenty of drama surrounding the club, its players and the Italian manager, who hinted at quitting the club following their narrow loss to Burnley in the Premier League.

However, Spurs have seen a slight upturn in form since, and their commanding 5-0 victory over Everton signalled their intent to close down on their top-four rivals after both West Ham and Manchester United suffered defeats at the weekend.

They are now level on points with sixth-placed West Ham and two adrift of Manchester United, who remain in fifth place. Their potential target would be to close down on Arsenal, who remain three points ahead of Spurs with a game in hand following their victory over Watford.

Spurs have played a game more than their north London rivals, and there is also the rescheduled derby to look forward to later in the season. Antonio Conte has now insisted finishing in the fourth place will be as good as winning the Champions League or the Premier League.

Speaking after the Everton game, as quoted by ESPN, Conte said, “We’ll try to do everything, and at the end, we’ll see what happens. We have only 12 games to play, not a trophy to play for. For this reason, it’s right to take the responsibility, me, myself; I have to be the first.

“You know I don’t like to speak about ambition and reaching a place in the Champions League because I like to play to win the league and win trophies. But in this situation, this could be our Champions League, our Premier League title, if we can reach fourth place.

“It’s right to celebrate, but at the same time we have to be focused, and from tomorrow we have to start to think Saturday it will be a crucial game for us and I repeat, it’s right to celebrate the players that they are doing fantastic things. But at the same time, I want my players to celebrate but don’t lose focus, don’t lose our target. We have 12 games to play, and they have to be finals for us.

“I repeat, now I put this target to my team that we have to try stay until the end very close to the top team and to try and do something important. I repeat, to finish in the top four for us it would be we won the Champions League or Premier League this season.”

Up next for Tottenham is a vital fixture against Manchester United at Old Trafford at the weekend, after which they lock horns against West Ham United in another crucial encounter.

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