Antonio Conte has stated that Chelsea's match against Tottenham is a must win game for his team if they want to qualify for next season's Champions League.
The reigning Premier League champions lie five points behind their London rivals in the table, with Spurs occupying the fourth and final qualification spot via the league, ahead of Sunday's crunch clash at Stamford Bridge.
Conte spoke to the press (h/t the Sun) about what the almighty showdown meant to his club's aims of making it into UEFA's competition next term, and the Italian made it clear in no uncertain terms just how massive the contest was for his players.
He said: “For sure, this is an important game. If we win on Sunday, we go very close to Spurs. Otherwise, we stay not so close and it will be difficult to get into the top four.
“Our target for this final stretch is to take a place in the Champions League, reach the FA Cup final and, this season, win it.
“Nothing’s impossible. In this league battle, I include Liverpool as well. We just have to try to win every game, not make a lot of mistakes — don’t drop points.”
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Tottenham haven't beaten Chelsea in west London in the league for almost 28 years and know that they'll take a huge step to being the best team in England's capital if they manage to do so this weekend.
Their hopes of doing so are boosted by the absence of key Chelsea duo Thibaut Courtois and Andreas Christensen, and Conte added that their losses could spell danger for his team.
On Sunday Chelsea fans will either be celebrating a win vs Spurs or wishing the international break to return again— َ (@HazardEdition) March 28, 2018
He said: “We do have two big problems — Courtois and Christensen — and we have to check them carefully. The most important thing is to be available. But, at the same time, to have the right physical condition to play a good game.”
Alvaro Morata is expected to play some part, however, after putting in the hard graft at Chelsea's Cobham training base during the international break.