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Conte reveals his thoughts on UCL qualification after taking over as Spurs boss

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Antonio Conte thought Tottenham Hotspur qualifying for the Champions League when he took over was a joke

As quoted by the Evening Standard, Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte admitted that he never imagined the club could qualify for the Champions League at the end of the season, when he got offered the job late last year.

Daniel Levy sacked Nuno Espirito Santo earlier in the campaign after a string of poor results and appointed Conte as his successor, in the hopes that the Italian could revive their season. The new boss has done well, with the club currently sitting in fourth place in the Premier League table.

However, the former Inter Milan manager said that when he initially joined the English side, he thought Levy’s request to get into the UCL was a joke. Conte also described his initial time at the club as a difficult period.

“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?’”

Antonio Conte thought Tottenham Hotspur qualifying for the Champions League when he took over was a joke. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Antonio Conte said he had a difficult period at Tottenham Hotspur when he joined initially. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The Lilywhites have seen a massive improvement in their form and league table position since Conte took over. Known to be a serial winner at every club he has managed thus far, he is expected to produce the same kind of results in north London.

“We must take the last step”

Tottenham currently sit one point away from securing Champions League football next season, and a draw against Norwich on the final day of the season should do the trick. Arsenal are lurking close behind to take advantage, in the event the Canaries pull off an upset.

Conte said that it is important the side does not forget what happened in the past and what they all did up until now to reach this moment of nearly qualifying for Europe. The manager insisted that they still need to take the last step and finish the job.

“But it’s important that the club don’t forget the past and what we did to reach this moment because, I repeat, we didn’t get a place in the Champions League. We must take the last step and we need to do this.”

Antonio Conte thought Tottenham Hotspur qualifying for the Champions League when he took over was a joke. (Credit: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Daniel Levy asked Antonio Conte to get Tottenham Hotspur to the UCL when he was appointed. (Credit: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Although Conte has got Spurs on the cusp of getting back to playing Champions League football next term, the journey to get there has been wild. Tottenham have been inconsistent in their performances throughout the campaign, unable to maintain a winning run.

They oscillated between a win and a loss every game week, and made the most of a purple patch late in 2022 to gain traction and climb up the league table. Other competitors like Manchester United and Arsenal have also helped, causing their own downfall with defeats.

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Conte will be aiming to end the season on a high and begin his first full campaign with the club beyond the summer, looking to push on. Winning silverware will be his target, putting an end to the side’s long trophy drought.

With a summer transfer window coming up, the manager will be keen to add more quality players to his squad after securing the signatures of Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur in January. It will be curious to see who Spurs can bring in during the coming weeks and further improve.

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