Conte is Tottenham’s key to winning the top four, admits ex-Arsenal star Keown

Arsenal, Manchester United and West Ham are also in contention for the final spot in next season’s competition, but the former Gunners defender believes Conte’s experience could trump Mikel Arteta’s efforts.

“In this feverish battle for the top four, Tottenham will feel they have a real advantage over their rivals and that is thanks to Antonio Conte and his record,” he wrote in the Mail.

“In Conte they have a coach who has won titles for all the big clubs he has managed – five in total with Chelsea, Juventus and Inter Milan – and knows what it takes to qualify for the Champions League.

“Throughout his managerial career, he’s been incredibly open with the media. He was candid about Tottenham’s huge inconsistencies as they went from one extreme to the other beating Manchester City and then losing to Burnley.

“But now they have won four of their last five league games and Conte looks excited for this run-in.”

Spurs face Newcastle on Sunday ahead of an as yet unscheduled derby in north London, after the first matchday was postponed due to an Arsenal Covid outbreak. Arteta’s men will face Crystal Palace on Monday.

And Keown added: “Looking at their remaining fixtures, Tottenham have the most inviting run-in, although it is surprising the Premier League have not confirmed a date for the postponed derby with Arsenal from January 16.

“The longer they take, the more they feel like they’re exploiting the situation trying to turn this game into a box office battle for fourth place towards the end of the season – and that concerns me.”

standard Sport

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