Antonio Conte didn’t think he Tottenham Hotspur had any chance of finishing in the Premier League’s top four, when he arrived in north London, as he told Daniel Levy, writes the SportBible.
Spurs look on the verge of making it into next season’s Champions League, after a huge 10 days that has seen the race for fourth swing completely in their favour.
Last week they beat Arsenal in the north London derby to inch to within one point of their local rivals, who had looked certain to finish in the top four.
A win last weekend over Burnley put them above the Gunners and Mikel Arteta’s team then lost to Newcastle United last Monday, making it advantage Spurs.
Heading into their final game of the season, Conte’s side only need to match Arsenal’s result with Everton, in their game against already relegated Norwich City.
It’s a situation Conte clearly didn’t think would unravel, as he revealed in his post match press conference, revealing he’d have thought Daniel Levy was joking asking for Champions League football back when he took the job.
Conte took over the reigns at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at the beginning of November, after Nuno Espirito Santo was sacked just months after taking the role.
The Portuguese manager hadn’t exactly been the club’s first choice to succeed Jose Mourinho, and Conte had turned them down previously.
Espirito Santo’s poor run had seen the club drop completely away from the top four race, especially losing 2-0 to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United in the game before his sacking.
At the time it was felt like the losing team might get rid of their manager and attempt to bring Conte in, and the Italian did go to north London.
Tottenham’s chase to finish in the top four has certainly been helped by the fact that United lost all their form in the second half of the season.
Likewise West Ham United’s battle to win the Europa League, whilst working with a small squad, saw David Moyes’ team lose ground in the race for Champions League football.
However the biggest factor, outside of Spurs own good form under Conte, will no doubt be the collapse by Arsenal in recent weeks.
Arteta showed the pressure was getting to him last week when moaning about the referees, something his rival from Spurs wasn’t too impressed by.