Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte: Tottenham Champions League qualification 'a joke' earlier in the season

Jude Summerfield
Conte's Spurs need a point at Norwich to confirm UCL qualification
Conte's Spurs need a point at Norwich to confirm UCL qualification / Ryan Pierse/GettyImages
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Antonio Conte has admitted Tottenham's prospects of qualifying for the Champions League were a joke when he took over earlier in the season.

Spurs were two points off the top four after a 3-0 defeat to Manchester United in October which resulted in the sacking of former boss Nuno Espirito Santo. Conte arrived a few days later and has revived the club's hopes.

The Lilywhites now need just a point on the final day of the season at already-relegated Norwich to secure a return to the Champions League after two seasons out of the competition, and Conte said he would have scoffed if chairman Daniel Levy asked him to reach the top four upon his arrival at Spurs.

He said: "Daniel didn't ask me anything. He asked me only how we want, with me in charge, how we can improve the situation. Not a target.

"But I think he knows very well that I'm an ambitious person and that I want to try in every situation to sit at the top, to fight for this. But he didn't ask me anything. This must be very, very clear because if you put me a target then I know that in this moment it's very difficult.

"It was for sure a difficult period. For sure, if he (Levy) had asked me, 'I want to go to the Champions League', at that moment, to be realistic, I can tell him only one thing: 'Are you joking?'

"This is the truth because we are talking about England, a situation in this league that is very, very difficult, because there are four top teams. If one of these top teams doesn't miss the season, it will be very difficult to go inside.

"At the same time I try to do this because I like to put on myself big, big targets, not minimal targets. I know me, I know myself and I need this challenge to give the best.


Listen now to 90min's Tottenham podcast, Oh What a Night, with Sean Walsh and Jude Summerfield. On this episode, the pair talk about the brilliant north London victory over Arsenal.


"If you remember in the last nine games, before the last nine games, I said now we are ready to fight for a place in the Champions League, we are in this race. I never said this before but I said it was a miracle and I said we must fight for a place in the UEFA.

"But in the last nine games, we understood something had changed in everybody, I put the pressure on myself and I pushed, I put the pressure on my players and we are here to speak about an important target for our club."

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