Antonio Conte has declared Tottenham “ready to fight” for Champions League qualification, which he believes “changes your life”.
Spurs are fourth heading into this weekend’s matches, three points ahead of Arsenal – albeit the fifth-placed Gunners have played a game fewer and will visit Tottenham Hotspur Stadium next month.
Although Tottenham are in a great position thanks to a strong recent run, there is plenty of work to do.
And Saturday’s visitors are Brighton and Hove Albion, who did their opponents a huge favour last week by winning at Arsenal, showing just how dangerous they could be this weekend.
Spurs are highly motivated, though.
“The Champions League is a competition that every club, every player, every manager wants to play and for this reason it’s important to have this great goal,” Conte explained. “(It) changes your life if next season you are going to play in the Champions League, instead of playing UEFA (Europa) League, (Europa) Conference League, or nothing.
“The team is ready to fight until the end in this race. This race is not easy. It’s very, very important to finish in the top four in England because it means that you have reached a great result for the club.”
Brighton may be buoyed by their last result, but Graham Potter knows Tottenham are now a different proposition under Conte.
“We’re hopefully in a better place and can play better, but we’ll need to if we want to get something at Spurs,” he said. “They’ve improved, they’ve had impressive results. Antonio has done an amazing job there. Huge credit to him. They are a top team and we know from experience how hard they are to play against.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Tottenham – Harry Kane
Kane could hardly have played better in Tottenham’s past three games, yet he has not scored any of their 12 goals. That run can surely only continue for a matter of time, and the England captain has netted in three consecutive matches against Brighton.
Brighton and Hove Albion – Moises Caicedo
Yves Bissouma continues to be linked with a move away from Brighton, but last week’s win over Arsenal signalled their midfield future. To one side of Bissouma, Enock Mwepu scored, but Caicedo on the other side was every bit as impressive in his Premier League debut.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Tottenham have won all four of their Premier League home games against Brighton – only against Bournemouth (five of five) do they have a better such 100 per cent record in the competition.
– Brighton have won just one of their nine away league games against Spurs (D2 L6), losing each of the past five in a row since a 1-0 victory in October 1981.
– Tottenham won the reverse fixture against Brighton 2-0 and have also beaten the Seagulls in the FA Cup this term. The last English club Spurs won three games against in a single season were Aston Villa in 2013-14.
– Brighton won 2-1 at Arsenal last week – the only team in Premier League history to win away at both Arsenal and Spurs in consecutive Premier League matches are Hull City in October 2008.
– Each of Brighton’s past three Premier League victories have come away from home. Meanwhile, the Seagulls are unbeaten in all five of their league games in London this season (W2 D3) – they last remained unbeaten in the capital across a full league campaign in 2016-17, while they have never managed to do so when playing at least five such games.