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Tottenham are locked in a battle with Manchester United, West Ham and north London rivals Arsenal for the final Champions League qualification spot. Spurs boss Antonio Conte is putting the onus on his players to deliver as he feels it would allow the club to make good decisions on key personnel such as Harry Kane.

Antonio Conte has spoken of the importance of Tottenham finishing the season on a high, as it would allow the club to make “good decisions” on the future of key figures such as Harry Kane.

Spurs are locked in battle with Arsenal, Manchester United and West Ham for the fourth Champions League qualification spot.

Conte feels securing a seat at Europe’s top table would allow the club to continue a squad rebuild and persuade Kane and himself to remain in north London.

“You’re talking about a player that every manager wants in his own team,” Conte said when asked about Kane’s future at the club. “You know there’s a great connection with Harry. He’s a really world-class striker and one of the most important players in the world.

“For sure, yes, (laughs) if I have to decide for him [he should stay]… and it would be very important to have a good end to the season.

“Every single player understands that we are on the right way to become a strong team and are ready to fight for an important target. This is very important.

“Now we have nine games and have to be focused. The players have to be focused to give their maximum.

“To finish in the Champions League would be a great achievement for everybody and allow us to take different decisions and good decisions for me. For sure it will be very important.”

Conte has consistently maintained that he feels Spurs can challenge for honours in the near future, but that the squad needs to be refreshed.

“For sure the team has dropped because the team has lost many important players,” Conte said. “Also experienced players who played many years who know the club and the environment. Now is a moment you have to try to build again and to go step by step to improve the level and try to be close with the teams that maybe in the past were behind.

“In the past Liverpool were behind Tottenham. Don’t forget Jurgen Klopp before he won with Liverpool, he spent many, many years. I remember Liverpool didn’t qualify for the Champions League. It means this league is very difficult.

“Now we understand very well our reality. Not just our reality but the reality of the other top clubs. We need to work very hard, don’t make any mistakes when we go to sign new players to try to improve the team, to make the squad stronger, because in this moment, we are a bit far from the top teams. But in the same way, honestly I’m seeing a lot of improvements over the last part of the season.”

Tottenham return to action following the international break with a home game against Newcastle on Sunday, and Conte is putting the onus on his players to deliver.

“You know very well it will be very difficult, but, honestly, now I feel this sensation that we can reach this target (Champions League qualification) and for this reason I put this positive pressure on the team,” Conte said. “It’s good for the present but also for the future. If you want to be competitive and win trophies, you have to live with the pressure.

“The pressure is to be positive, you have to use this pressure to push you at the maximum level but not let the pressure make your legs heavy.”

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