Tottenham manager Antonio Conte says qualifying for the UEFA Champions League would be tantamount to winning the Premier League title for Spurs.
The former Chelsea and Inter boss took over from Spurs in November but was outspoken in his assessment of the club’s situation which he said surprised him.
Conte became the first Spurs unbeaten manager in his first eight games in charge but progress has stalled after a bad January transfer window.
The Italian had previously claimed Tottenham had a “one percent chance of finishing in fourth place” but Monday’s 5-0 win over Everton saw Spurs level 45 points with sixth-placed West Ham United and three points behind fourth-placed Arsenal.
“You know I don’t like to talk about ambitions and reaching the Champions League because I love playing to win the league and win trophies, but in this case, it could be our Champions League, our Premier League title if they can reach fourth place,” Conte told a post-match press conference.
“We now have 12 games to play until the end of the season,” he said.
“I told my players it was okay to commit to this because I think from the moment I arrived we were strong.
“In January two players made us perfect. I think we can fight. We can fight for the title. It is important to have this desire it is wrong to hide our ambitions and we will see what happens.
“We will try to do everything and in the end we will see what happens. Now we have only 12 games left, not the trophy we have to play. For this reason it is okay to carry the burden, I, myself, should be the first.”
Conte’s side have won three of their last four Premier League games, including a 3-2 victory over leaders and champions Manchester City. The Italian midfielder told Sky Sports after the game that he had high expectations for him.