Tuesday, 22 May 2018
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Antonio Conte says top four and not his future is priority

Antonio Conte says top four and not his future is priority
09 May
5:06
Antonio Conte’s Chelsea trail Tottenham by two points and Liverpool by three points in the race for the Champions League

Finishing in the Premier League top four is more of a priority than his own future says Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.

Fifth-placed Chelsea trail Tottenham by two points and Liverpool by three with two games to play in the race to qualify for the Champions League.

“I’m very focused on the present, to do the job in the best way for the players and the fans,” said Conte.

“Our job is not simple, it’s not easy. But I’m totally focused on the present.”

The Italian, who won the league last season in his first campaign in charge at Stamford Bridge, is under contract until June 2019.

However, his future has been the subject of speculation all season, despite guiding Chelsea into an FA Cup final against Manchester United on 19 May.

The Blues have won their last four league matches, but even if Conte’s team defeat relegation-threatened Huddersfield and Newcastle, it may not be enough for Chelsea, whose goal difference is inferior to both of their rivals.

“The situation is not in our hands,” said Conte. “Liverpool have to win the last game against Brighton and it’s the same for Tottenham. They have two games at home.

“The only way to put a bit of pressure is this, to get three points in every game. In the last month we did this.

“We won three games away, Southampton, Burnley and Swansea, and one game at home against Liverpool. We’re doing our job in the best way to put pressure on Tottenham and Liverpool,” he added.

Spurs play Newcastle on Wednesday and Leicester on Sunday at Wembley with manager Mauricio Pochettino pleased that his side are still in control of their Champions League aspirations.

“It’s sure everyone from the beginning of the season [would have signed up] to be in that situation at the end of the season, fighting for the top four,” he said.

“I think today it’s more about being focused as a team, as a club, and trying to win the last two games and be sure in the top four because it’s in our hands.”

Despite not challenging for the title – which they did for parts of the last two seasons – Pochettino believes Tottenham have enjoyed an “amazing” campaign, particularly when set against the backdrop of their move from White Hart Lane to Wembley.

“Last season at White Hart Lane we played 19 games in the Premier League and we won 17 and drew twice,” he said.

“You finish second in the league, you move to Wembley and of course there’s a lot of fears because the Champions League wasn’t great the previous season.

“If you analyse all in context I think it’s an amazing season – to have the possibility with two games left to finish third, I think it’s massively successful.

“But I understand people want more. We want more. We’re ambitious. For me it’s like a marathon, to create a team capable of winning, to build a winning mentality is like a marathon.”

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