Antonio Conte on top-four race after Newcastle win: ‘Tottenham are going up and up’ | Football News

Antonio Conte thinks improving Tottenham are “going up and up” and has thanked “amazing” Harry Kane for setting the example for his team-mates.

Tottenham moved up to fourth in the Premier League table and piled the pressure on the Gunners with a thumping 5-1 comeback win at home to Newcastle.

Arsenal – who now have two games in hand – can reclaim their top-four spot if they pick up a point at Crystal Palace on Monday Night Football, but the yet-to-be-rearranged postponed derby between the two rivals is shaping up to be potentially decisive.

It was a man-of-the-match display from Kane against the Toon, despite being a surprise absentee from the scoresheet.

“He was a big example for his team-mates,” Conte said of Kane.

“When you see him work this way, for sure you have to show the desire to continue to work very hard. For this reason I want to tell him thanks because he’s a big example for everything. And I hope to give him satisfaction. Now he is enjoying to play this type of football and we have to try to continue together because I’m seeing many players with great improvement. Every player is improving and for this reason Tottenham is going up and up.”

Harry Kane put in a Man of the Match performance during Spurs' 5-1 win over Newcastle
Harry Kane put in a Man of the Match performance during Spurs’ 5-1 win over Newcastle

Conte added: “His performance was amazing. I said to him it was a shame he didn’t score but he played in a fantastic way. To have a player like him in your team makes you strong. To know we have him in our side is very important because he can score and create chances.

“First of all I like the person. Some players with talent don’t want to work hard. I have found a player who is a great man. He set the example from the very first day. This isn’t normal because usually when you are top player you can work less, sometimes you are a bit lazy. He is a big example for his teammates. I have seen his desire to be competitive in every competition.”

It’s the first time Spurs have been in the Champions League qualifying spots since September and – with three Premier League wins on the spin – Conte’s previously painfully inconsistent side look like they are hitting form at just the right time.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Tottenham’s win against Newcastle in the Premier League.

He said: “I’m seeing great improvement in many aspects. The technical, tactical aspects, the mentality.

“We know very well that in this race there are other teams that may in this moment have an advantage. Arsenal has to play two games. Don’t forget Manchester United. Don’t forget West Ham and Wolverhampton is having a fantastic season. This league is very difficult. I’m happy because hard work is paying off.

“This is very important for the players. I’ve found a group of players who have given me great commitment. They give me credit for my past I think but now they’re understanding this is the right way and they trust me and I trust them.”

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David Ginola says if Tottenham sell Harry Kane, a replacement would cost Spurs upwards of £200 million

Howe: We chased the game

Newcastle played what appeared to be an ideal away day performance for 43 minutes but they fell away badly in the second half. They’ve now lost their last three but remain nine points clear of the relegation zone.

Eddie Howe admitted he was dissapointed with how his team played after the break.

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Newcastle boss Eddie Howe admitted their 5-1 defeat to Tottenham could be a ‘good thing’ for the club and give them a chance to ‘realign their thoughts’.

He said: “We produced a very good performance up until the moment Fabian Schar scored. It was hugely disappointing going in at 1-1.

“Bar a few nervy moments at the start I thought we controlled them.

“The key goal is the second goal – the manner of it from our perspective.

“Then we chased the game in a very aggressive way and played in a way we shouldn’t have done. We became expansive, took risks with the ball and then got punished by a top-level team. Some of the goals they scored on transitions were very good. We didn’t manage that part of the game at all.

“It’s a massive period coming up for us. We’re aware this run of games we’ve just exited out of was difficult for us, a lot of away games. I’ll be pleased to return home where form has been good. We need the crowd and stadium united to make the atmosphere as intense as we can for our opponents. This is going to be a massive spell which will go a long way to dictate our fate this season.”

What’s next?

Tottenham travel to Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday, April 9 live on Sky Sports; kick-off 5.30pm.

Up next for Newcastle is a home match against Wolves on Friday, April 8 also live on Sky Sports; kick-off 8pm.

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