Antonio Conte suggested Tottenham should be proud they are even in contention for a top-four finish heading into the final game of the season after beating Burnley 1-0 on Sunday.

Harry Kane's first-half penalty ultimately proved decisive as Spurs went fourth at least until Monday, when Arsenal go to Newcastle United.

It was by no means a vintage performance from Spurs, who came under pressure from the visitors in the second half, but the victory at least means they head into the final day of the season with a chance of clinching the last Champions League spot.

When Conte replaced Nuno Espirito Santo as coach in November, Spurs were five points behind the top four – while not necessarily an alarming gap in itself, Tottenham appeared to be in freefall at the time after losing five of their previous seven league games.

Spurs have only lost six top-flight matches since then, with Conte credited with inspiring a significant improvement across the pitch.

And given the position and form they were in back in November, Conte felt he had to commend his Spurs players for hauling themselves back into contention.

"I think first of all we had to do our task and to win and get three points and put some pressure on Arsenal," he told reporters.

"We know very well it is not easy to play against Newcastle and especially when they arrive with the new manager and in a good spell and not an easy game, but it will be the same for us in Norwich [in the final game of the season], and the last game against Everton for Arsenal.

"For sure I will watch the game because I love football and I want to watch and I want also to suffer.

"But I think it is a big achievement for the last game to have the possibility to take a place into the Champions League, because I don't forget our path since November and we will see what happens.

"I also think Arsenal did a really good job this season because they didn't play in Europe and now they have a chance to play in the Champions League."

While Sunday's performance may not have been as impressive as Thursday's north London derby win over Arsenal, the visit of Burnley took place against a backdrop of squad uncertainty.

Four players had been affected by a stomach virus ahead of the match, yet each one was either able to start or take a place on the bench, which – according to Conte – proved their commitment to the fight.

"It wasn't easy because [Saturday] morning the doctor sent me a message that a few players they felt not well and with a stomach problem, vomiting and also fever," he said. "For this reason, [Dejan] Kulusevski didn't have a training session, also [Pierluigi] Gollini, also Hugo [Lloris].

"He was not in a perfect condition today, also Winksy [Harry Winks]. Despite this we face the game in the right way and I am so happy because I have seen a team that has improved in many aspects. Now this team is ready to fight in every game."

Burnley felt aggrieved by the handball decision that allowed Kane to convert from 12 yards, with the VAR spotting the ball brush Ashley Barnes' arm in the box.

Conte had no time for their complaints, however.

"I think it was 200 per cent a penalty, not 100 per cent. It was so clear. It was very difficult to understand the complaints – if your arm is in this way and you take the ball, I think it is very, very clear, honestly."

Mikel Arteta is keen to focus on the future rather than Arsenal's midweek defeat to rivals Tottenham, although that match has left him with a real problem at centre-back.

Arsenal went down 3-0 to Spurs on Thursday, increasing the pressure on Arteta's side, who are one point ahead of their fifth-placed neighbours in the top four with two Premier League games remaining.

The first of those is away to Newcastle United on Monday, by which point Tottenham will have played Burnley and could be fourth.

And Arsenal may head into that match without a single senior centre-back. Rob Holding was sent off at Spurs and is suspended, while Gabriel Magalhaes went off injured. Ben White, on the bench last time out, was not considered fit enough to bring on.

Speaking on Saturday, Arteta acknowledged any decision on Gabriel and White would have to go to the wire.

"We will have to modify certain positions to try to make it work because we don't have more defenders," he said.

"And even though we have academy players, they haven't experienced those positions a lot because they are not specified central defenders. It's something we'll try to find a way [to solve]."

Arteta added: "Tomorrow [Sunday] will be the day when we will have better answers [on Gabriel and White] – probably not the answers that we want on matchday, but hopefully better answers.

"We'll probably know more tomorrow, so we wanted to extend this period as much as possible to understand how they are recovering, how they are feeling, assess them, and tomorrow we'll probably know more about how they are."

Meanwhile, Arteta was not interested in entertaining discussion of the Tottenham defeat.

"Forwards," he said. "I said it after the [post-match] press conference, I just look forward."

Even mention of Antonio Conte's claims Arteta complains too much did not prompt a response from the Arsenal manager.

Asked what he would tell Conte, Arteta replied: "That I'm fully focused on Newcastle."

Despite his clear anger at how that match played out, the Gunners boss is looking to lift his players, reminding them their performances have put them in pole position ahead of Spurs.

"That [result] was a possibility," Arteta said, "and we knew that to get into the position that we are in today, a lot has happened in the past.

"We've been through it, we have experienced it, and hopefully that can help us again on Monday."

Son Heung-min labelled Tottenham's Premier League schedule as "madness" but bemoaned the decision to substitute him against Arsenal as he chases the Golden Boot award.

Antonio Conte's side were cruising at 3-0 up against Arsenal on Thursday after a Harry Kane double and strike from Son, who was removed in the 72nd minute for Steven Bergwijn after adding to his impressive tally.

Son has scored 21 non-penalty goals in the Premier League this season, with only Harry Kane ever netting more goals, excluding penalties, in a single season in the competition for Spurs.

Meanwhile, only Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, who has managed 22 goals, has scored more times than Son in the English top flight this term, teeing up a hotly contested race for the Golden Boot.

The South Korea international admitted he was frustrated to be taken off as he chases the personal accolade, but understands why given the short turnaround to face Burnley on Sunday.

"To be honest looking at the schedule, it is madness," Son said. "We are playing Thursday night and Sunday with a really early kick-off.

"It is a really quick turnaround, we need to do everything to recover: good food, good sleep and get ready to go again.

"It would always be good to have a [later] kick-off [on Sunday], but if you win the early kick-off it is always good. It feels like you wake up and you go to play the game.

"Especially Thursday to Sunday is a really quick turnaround. But this is the schedule, we can't change it and we need to be ready for every situation which we will do.

"I will try my best to sleep. But if I struggle what can I do? If I am struggling I still have to try my best to recover. For me sleep is one of the most important things to recover and I’ll do my best."

As for being brought off, Son is more interested in how the team does as Tottenham sit one point behind fourth-placed Arsenal with two games to play.

"I am always not happy at coming off because I want to be on the pitch because I love playing football and I want to help the team," he added.

"I can understand afterwards but at the moment you are not angry but frustrated because you are passionate on the pitch. I can understand why because we have a really quick game on Sunday.

"I can't promise I will score but I will do my best and I will do my best for the team and if I don't score I will do my best.

"[The Golden Boot] would be nice but for us it is important for us to finish in the top four. Against Arsenal, performance-wise it was fantastic and I am very proud for the lads and well deserved.

"Obviously it’s a good thing that you are racing for the Golden Boot, but I have said a few times that it is important to finish in the top four than anything else.

"So 100 per cent I would be happy [if we qualify but I don’t score]."

Conte masterminded Spurs' biggest league win over fierce rivals Arsenal since April 1983 (5-0) and Son was quick to credit the Italian manager.

"He has been fantastic, some of the players have already spoken about this," Son continued. "Before he arrived we couldn't believe we could arrive in the Champions League spot.

"What he brought to the club was incredible, the passion, the energy, the positivity. Look, he has brought so many things. It is only 10 more days left, we have to give what we can, we have to squeeze all that we have.

"It has been really tough, especially in the Premier League because everyone is playing for the title and the top four and every game is really tough.

"When you qualify it is really tough but the way to qualify is really tough. The last two games we just want to make sure we qualify for the Champions League."

Antonio Conte insists he is "100 per cent and more" committed to Tottenham as speculation persists over his future next season.

Conte was appointed as Nuno Espirito Santo's successor in November and has transformed Spurs' fortunes, lifting them from ninth to fifth in the Premier League with two games to play.

Tottenham sit just a point behind fierce rivals Arsenal after winning 3-0 against Mikel Arteta's side on Thursday, their biggest league win over the Gunners since April 1983 (5-0).

However, questions continue to surround the future of Conte, who has been linked with the Paris Saint-German job should Mauricio Pochettino be dismissed for his Champions League failures.

But the Italian appears set on staying put at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

"From the moment I came into the club – and in every club I worked in in the past – I go totally with my heart, mind and head," he told reporters.

"Totally, 100 per cent and more. This is my characteristic. I'm a passionate person. I think I showed this passion. I think to see me afterwards sometimes on TV, it's not simple to see me in this way. I'm very passionate, I'm this way. I like to go totally into the club where I work.

"I know that only in this way I'm able to give everything. And also to find the way to receive everything from my players, my club and the fans.

"Because if I'm the first person to give 200 per cent, then for sure I can ask for this [in return]."

The expectation is that Conte will remain in charge should Spurs seal Champions League football next term, and Tottenham can move into the top four with victory over Burnley on Sunday.

With Arsenal not in action at Newcastle United until Monday, Spurs can look to seize the initiative. But relegation-threatened Burnley will prove a challenge given they defeated Conte's side 1-0 in the reverse fixture.

That loss at Turf Moor led Conte to explode in a post-match interview where he questioned whether he was up to the task, but he later suggested this was to rally his players.

"I think honestly there are moments that if you want to change the situation, address the situation in the way you're used to addressing, sometimes you have to go strong," he said of his outburst.

"I understand very well that I took a risk because a lot of people didn't understand. I read that it only took two months for Tottenham to make Conte crazy! I remember very well I was the crazy one.

"Sometimes coaches have a strategy, and the strategy is the stick or the carrot. At the time, all the environment needed the stick.

"Myself was the first person because I hit myself. And then the others. Because before saying something wrong about the players or the situation, the first to take the blame has to be the manager. The manager has to address the situation.

"At the time I thought it was right to go strong to try to change the situation. At the time, in my opinion, no one could think with two games to go Tottenham could fight for the Champions League.

"Instead, now, we are there, and from that step, we improved a lot. Also, there are moments when everyone has to take responsibility. The manager is the first, then the players, the club and all the employees of Tottenham. Because we win and we lose together."

Should Burnley win again, they would become just the fourth side to complete a top-flight double over a team coached by Conte, after Sampdoria (2012-13 v Juventus), Manchester City (2017-18 v Chelsea) and Juventus (2019-20 v Inter).

Mikel Arteta should concentrate on Arsenal and not complain so much, according to Tottenham boss Antonio Conte. 

Spurs claimed a 3-0 victory over Arsenal in the Premier League on Thursday to stop the Gunners from getting the three points they needed to clinch a top-four finish, with the difference between the sides now down to one point with two games remaining. 

Son won the penalty that Harry Kane converted for the opening goal and a foul on the South Korea international saw Rob Holding receive his second yellow card in the 33rd minute. It was Arsenal's 13th Premier League red card since Arteta took over in December 2019, five more than any other side in that timeframe.

Kane doubled his tally and Son put Spurs 3-0 up early in the second half, with Arteta saying after the match he could not give an opinion on the refereeing decisions 

"He has to continue to work because he's very good. To hear someone complain all the time is not so good. If we want to complain, we have the possibility every game. 

"At Liverpool do you hear me complain about Fabinho and all the fouls? No. He can take my advice if he wants, but if not I don't care." or he would "be suspended for six months". 

Conte, however, felt referee Paul Tierney was right in his decision-making as Spurs won a third straight home league games against Arsenal for the first time since 1961.

"He complains a lot. He has to focus more on his team. He has to focus more on his work," said Conte. 

The fixture was originally scheduled to be played in January but was postponed upon Arsenal's request as they contended with absences due to COVID-19, injuries and the Africa Cup of Nations.  

Conte added: "[Arteta] complained about the fixtures and that was after Arsenal had an unbelievable postponement with just one COVID case. Now we're playing at 12pm on Sunday and they don't play until Monday. We can't always complain. 

"[Arteta] is a very good coach and I think can become a very important coach for the future, but in six months I have heard him complain a lot." 

Conte was quick to remind his players that failure to follow up their win over the Gunners with another victory against Burnley at the weekend would make their derby success meaningless. 

"For sure, it was a good performance. From the start until the end, our approach to manage the game was very positive," said Conte. 

"Winning this game gave us the possibility to continue [the fight] to take our place in the Champions League. I'm pleased with the commitment 

"I was clear with the players that it's alright to celebrate, but if we don't win on Sunday it doesn't mean anything." 

Mikel Arteta and Arsenal now face a thorough examination of their mentality and focus after Thursday's morale-sapping 3-0 north London derby defeat blew the race for fourth wide open.

While the importance of Champions League qualification might feel exaggerated to some given the financial muscle of practically every Premier League club, regardless of finishing in the top four or not, the end of 2021-22 will undoubtedly have significant implications for both clubs.

A top-four finish would be Arsenal's best Premier League season in six years and simultaneously the first time since the same season that they'd finished above their bitter rivals.

Champions League qualification would also be vindication of the faith placed in Arteta and a clear sign of genuine progress since he replaced Unai Emery.

For Spurs, on the other hand, it's difficult to look at these final 10 days of the season being anything other than a sliding-doors moment.

Failure to return to European football's top table would plausibly see Antonio Conte call it quits, whereas the possibilities could be endless under him with the extra cash, exposure and lure provided by the Champions League, particularly when you consider the transformational effect he's already had in north London and elsewhere previously.

With those points in mind, it was no surprise to see Thursday's contest – the first with fans present at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – labelled the most important north London derby in Premier League history, and it's fair to say the hosts handled the occasion far better than the Gunners.

Perhaps that wasn't actually as shocking as it initially felt during the match.

The turning point came with just 33 minutes on the clock. While Tottenham were already ahead thanks to a Harry Kane penalty, it was just past the half-hour mark when Rob Holding's pushed his luck once too often.

Having already been booked – frankly, he could have been carded several times by this point – Holding cynically blocked off the relentless Son Heung-min with a combination of shoulder and elbow, deservedly earning himself a second yellow and subsequent red card.

It had been coming. Holding's early duels with Son had the South Korean showing signs of frustration – not because he couldn't get the better of his opponent, but because he was getting the better of him. He just kept getting fouled by the Arsenal defender.

Holding's wry smile when walking away from an angry Son after a tangle that wouldn't have looked out of place on a Judo mat belied a degree of arrogance and misplaced confidence.

It was ill-judged to say the least.

But of course, this is by no means the first time indiscipline's been seen as the scourge of Arsenal. Since Arteta's appointment, the Gunners have been shown five more red cards (13 in total) in the Premier League than any other team.

Granted, they are the youngest team in the Premier League, so perhaps a hint of indiscipline is to be expected as a consequence of inexperience – but that argument can't really be applied to 26-year-old Holding.

Arsenal had actually started the match quite well. Their pressing intensity was excellent, so much so that a Spurs passage of play consisting exclusively of passes between the defence and Hugo Lloris drew significant jeers of derision and frustration from the home crowd.

But Spurs identified they could find joy by playing direct, which was exactly how the opener arrived, with Cedric Soares – no, not Holding this time! – the one guilty of barging Son over at the back post as he looked to reach a deep delivery.

Just four minutes after Holding's red card, Kane – who had endured a career-worst derby drought of two matches prior to Thursday – exploited Eddie Nketiah's lack of awareness to stoop in at the back post to head home his second goal of the game, extending his all-time record as this fixture's top scorer.

Conte was a figure of calm after the first goal, but this time he wore his near-trademark terrifying jubilation with pride, presumably aware only a miracle would save Arsenal now.

The sparkling Son made sure any Arsenal hopes were thoroughly extinguished less than two minutes after the restart, pouncing on a loose ball in the area before steering beyond Aaron Ramsdale with the kind of expertise we've come to expect from a player only outscored by Mohamed Salah in the Premier League this season.

Arteta can console himself with the fact Arsenal remain fourth heading into their final two games of the season. Had you given him the option of being in that situation back in August, he'd have snapped your hand off.

But Thursday's ultimately crushing defeat once again raised questions of the Gunners' mentality and discipline, and their squad is becoming more depleted by the game. It's hardly an ideal combination when the pressure is on – and boy is it on now.

Tottenham – whose kind run-in sees them face Norwich City and Burnley – still need either Newcastle United or Everton to do them a favour at the very least.

But Thursday was evidence of Spurs keeping their cool when it matters. Arsenal didn't, and there's nothing to suggest they're too good to capitulate.

Antonio Conte acknowledged Tottenham must defeat Arsenal on Thursday, but rubbished questions over his team's success as he cited the struggles of Manchester United.

Spurs were languishing in ninth in the Premier League when Conte was appointed in November as the successor to Nuno Espirito Santo, who lasted just 17 league games at the club.

The Italian manager has overseen a change in fortunes at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with his side sitting fifth – four points behind fourth-placed Arsenal, who they host on Thursday.

Victory for Mikel Arteta's visitors would secure Champions League football next season, while a win for Tottenham would cut the Gunners' lead to just a point with two games left to play.

However, Conte told Sky Sports he does not believe qualification for the Champions League should be the defining factor of a successful campaign.

"This is not a question for me, it's a question maybe for the club," said Conte, who has won just one of his eight meetings with Arsenal in all competitions (D4 L3). 

"I don't know if the club's aspiration at the start was to fight for a place in the Champions League, honestly.

"To have only three games to go and to have the possibility to get a place in the Champions League, for us it means we have worked very hard and worked very well with my players.

"I don't think many people could imagine since my arrival that Tottenham could fight for a place in the Champions League. But with the great work of my players we are in a position where we can fight for a big achievement.

"When I arrived this team was ninth. I don't think the club was targeting a place in the Champions League, maybe in the Europa Conference League or Europa League, but we know very well in England that there is no easy game and to finish the season in a good place is not simple.

"There are many teams… Manchester United finished last season second and added players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane and maybe they can finish sixth or seventh, and you speak about Tottenham failure?

"I think this season is a great success, especially for the relationship created with the players and the achievement we have reached in my time here, but the job isn't finished, we have to finish this job."

Spurs are unbeaten in their last seven home league games against Arsenal (W5 D2), their longest such run against their north London rivals since a run of nine between 1960 and 1968.

Meanwhile, Arsenal are looking to complete their first league double over Tottenham since the 2013-14 campaign, after a 3-1 victory at the Emirates Stadium in September.

With the stakes so high for a spot at Europe's top table next term, Conte called for calm in the heat of the battle with Spurs' fierce rivals.

"These are important games for the table, first of all," he said. "It's a vital game for us because if we want to continue having an opportunity to play in the Champions League we need three points, we need to win. There is no other solution for us. 

"I also know very well the importance of this game. It's a north London derby, I understand the rivalry between the two teams very well, but the first thing for us is that we have to try and win and get three points for the table, and then because we want to give satisfaction to our fans.

"The game against Arsenal is an important game, it's a north London derby, it's important for the rivalry between the two teams, but the most important thing is the three points.

"With three points, it means we go very close to them and put pressure on them."

Should Arteta's side triumph, Arsenal will secure their highest Premier League finish since the 2015-16 campaign when they finished second. It will also be the first time since that season that they have finished above their north London rivals Tottenham.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was looking "to find an excuse or alibi" when criticising Tottenham's style of play following Saturday's 1-1 draw at Anfield, according to Antonio Conte.

Spurs became just the second side to stop Liverpool winning in their past 15 Premier League games, and the first at Anfield since Brighton and Hove Albion in October.

Luis Diaz's deflected 74th-minute strike cancelled out Son Heung-min's opener, but the draw inflicted a potentially fatal blow to the Reds' title hopes as they now trail leaders Manchester City by three points with three games to go.

Klopp took aim at Spurs' approach after the game, stating he "could not coach" Conte's defensive style as he implored Tottenham to do more with their talented "world-class players".

The German has since clarified that he intended those comments as a "backhanded compliment", and Conte says he can understand why his opposite number was frustrated at the weekend.

"Honestly, for the coach it's not simple or easy after the game. You have to try to keep a cool head. It's not easy or simple sometimes," Conte said at a news conference on Tuesday.

"If you remember this season it always happened to me, when I was disappointed after a bad result, like against Burnley.

"Sometimes we're a bit frustrated, especially when you arrive at the end of the end of the season and you understand a bad game and result can change the target for you.

"I repeat, I have great respect for Jurgen and I know he respects me a lot. This is a good chance for me and all the coaches to learn that during the game you never speak about your opponents.

"It's important to be focused on your team and the moments you can do better. And your own problems.

"Jurgen is intelligent, he was a bit frustrated after the game. At the same time, for us, for a top coach, it's important to be focused on your team, not your opponents. 

"To be focused on your opponents means you want to find an excuse or alibi because it means something in your job was wrong.

Tottenham managed just 35 per cent of possession against Liverpool, who outshot their opponents 22 to three – though the visitors registered as many shots on target (three each).

And while Conte can understand Klopp's frustration at the time, he believes the Reds boss should ultimately be pleased to have come away from the contest with a share of the spoils.

"After the game against Liverpool, the good answer I had like my players was we were disappointed at the end because we had the possibility to win the game," he said.

"We analysed the game the day after, and for sure if there was a team that deserved to win, it was Tottenham not Liverpool. In this game, I think Klopp understood he gained one point not lost two points."

Conte added: "Anyone who knows me, knows very well I want to win every game. I try to transfer this thought to my players. For sure, when I stay in one team, in a club, my aspiration and desire is to fight to win the title.

"To win the league in England is not easy. [Pep] Guardiola said Liverpool won one league in 30 years. It shows it's not simple. Maybe sometimes it's easier to win Champions League or Europa League than the league in England, where you have to face monsters."

While Tottenham were widely praised for their performance against Liverpool, the draw means they have now won just one of their past four matches ahead of hosting Arsenal.

Spurs trail their north London rivals by four points in the race for fourth place, making Thursday's showdown at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium must-win for Spurs.

"We are talking about an important game. Important for many different situations," Conte said. "First we are playing this game for an important target. For a place in the Champions League. This is first, to try to win this game.

"I also know the importance for our fans of this derby, the north London derby. This is the first time they're playing this derby in their stadium with all the fans.

"We have to try to get three points against Arsenal. We are talking about a good team, a really well organised team.

"Mikel Arteta is doing a really good job. He's had the possibility to work and improve his team. In this moment of the season it has to give us a big push."

Conte has won just one of his eight meetings with Arsenal in all competitions (D4 L3), with all of these coming as Chelsea boss between 2016 and 2018.

Of clubs he has faced at least five times in his managerial career, against no side does the Italian have a lower win rate than against the Gunners (12.5 per cent).

Jurgen Klopp has apologised for his outburst on Antonio Conte's tactics following the draw between Liverpool and Tottenham on Saturday, suggesting it was a "backhanded" compliment.

Liverpool dropped ground in the Premier League title race as they were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw at Anfield, Luis Diaz's deflected second-half strike salvaging a point for the Reds.

Spurs managed just 35 per cent of possession against the Reds, who outshot their opponents 22 to three – though the visitors registered as many shots on target (three each).

Having defended deep and relied on the counter-attacking prowess of scorer Son Heung-min and Harry Kane, Tottenham became the first team to stop Liverpool from winning at Anfield in the Premier League since Brighton and Hove Albion last October.

Klopp took aim at Spurs' approach after the game, stating he "could not coach" Conte's defensive style as he implored Tottenham to do more with their talented "world-class players".

However, the German manager has since retracted his remarks as he hailed the work that Conte and Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone do in setting their teams up to defend. 

"No. It's what I think, it's just not what I should say because it's not appropriate," Klopp told reporters when asked if he would contact Conte to apologise. "We didn't lose and it felt like a loss.

"One of you guys asked how they defended and that was the moment it clicked. I mean it when I say I couldn't coach it – it was a backhanded compliment.

"I couldn't. What they do is incredible and so difficult for the opponent – they make it hard to score.

"When you don't score and then Harry Kane gets on the ball, it's not a brain f***, but what can you do in these moments? My main message is I can't coach it.

"Diego Simeone and Atletico Madrid, I can't wait to face them again. That’s what I mean, it's unnecessary I say these kinds of things. It came out before I was thinking."

Liverpool also attempted 46 crosses to Tottenham's 17, but Klopp refuted suggestions his side should not have relied on sending the ball in from the flanks, even if he bemoaned the Reds' build-up play.

"The crosses you can read easily are not right with the way they defend," he added. "They need to go back in the centre, get to the touchline and square it.

"It's just that the main challenge of a game like this is that you are in a creative mood, but every missed pass is a massive problem, it is hard to stay calm.

"If we chip the ball in behind the wing-back that’s great football, but we didn't anticipate it. If we had won 3-1 you wouldn't have asked me about all these crosses and that's the problem, not a perfect game but great things.

"The counter-press was amazing. I don't forget but we keep going. If we win 1-0 and there's no counter-press, we have only a few games left and I have to say 'Boys, what happened?'.

"Nothing is broken, that's how I see it so let's keep going from there. It doesn't always work out and that's the nature of it.

"We had the situations where we could have scored. Virgil [van Dijk's late header], he could have scored and it would have been perfect."

Liverpool will look to cut Manchester City's three-point lead at the Premier League summit when the Reds visit Aston Villa on Tuesday.

Jurgen Klopp has questioned why Liverpool would stop believing they can win the Premier League title and dismissed Pep Guardiola's claim that the entire country wants the Reds to be crowned champions.

Manchester City moved three points clear at the top of the table with three games to play by thrashing Newcastle United 5-0 on Sunday after Liverpool were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw at home to Tottenham.

A visibly angered Klopp heaped criticism on the defensive style of football Antonio Conte employed at Anfield and Guardiola also delivered a notable post-match interview the following day.

The City boss suggested "everyone in this country supports Liverpool" in a thrilling title race.

However, Klopp explained Guardiola may have been talking in the heat of the moment after the game, as was the case following the Tottenham stalemate when Klopp suggested he could not coach like Conte.

"I live in Liverpool, here a lot of people want us to win the league but even here it is only 50 per cent," he told a pre-match news conference ahead of Tuesday's clash with Aston Villa. 

"As managers, after a game, we're obviously massively influenced by games and situations. What I said after Spurs [the criticism of Conte], I wouldn't say it again.

"I said: 'they play like they play and are still only fifth', but that was just my feeling at the moment and I couldn't respect Antonio more.

"I don't know how Pep reacted after getting knocked out of the Champions League and of course, Liverpool made it to the final, we played Villarreal, they played Real Madrid.

"I have no idea if the whole country is supporting us, it is not the feeling when we go and play around the country. Maybe he knows more than me."

Liverpool are also four goals behind City on goal difference and Klopp says they must beat Villa, Southampton and Wolves to have any chance of dethroning City.

"It's easy to describe our situation. We drew, they won, the goal difference too. We can decide for ourselves how we see it. There are some facts but I try to help the boys see it like me," he added.

"I am not sure I said [the title race is still on] because it is obvious. We both have three to play, my concern is how can we win our games. We shouldn't add on points before games are played.

"Why should we stop believing? The perfect situation would be we were nine points clear, 30-plus goals but it's not possible, so let's go from here.

"Whatever happens tomorrow night if we win, it helps. If not, we train for the FA Cup final [against Chelsea on Saturday].

"Ideal world, we win them all. We have to respond. The only chance to win is to win all the games."

Klopp is looking forward to seeing how Liverpool respond after coming up against a well-organised Spurs side at the weekend.

"Having another game is cool but it's not that we have to overcome something," he continued. "When I said about it being a funeral, I meant the press conference, not the players.

"A draw was a normal result, especially against Spurs. We played a good game against a well-organised team.

"It's not possible to be perfect due to the part of the season we are in now. We have to keep going."

Gary Neville agreed with Jurgen Klopp's verdict on Tottenham under Antonio Conte, believing it shows the coach was not "the right fit" for Manchester United.

United have been linked with Conte on numerous occasions in recent seasons as they have moved from manager to manager since Alex Ferguson's retirement.

The Red Devils have not won the Premier League since Ferguson's final campaign in 2012-13, while Conte has claimed three league titles with three clubs in two countries over the same period.

Now he is seeking to guide Spurs back into the Champions League, frustrating Liverpool to earn a precious 1-1 draw at Anfield on Saturday.

But the manner in which Conte sets his teams up has been the source of some debate since that match, as Liverpool manager Klopp questioned the tactics employed by his opposite number afterwards. Tottenham had just 34.5 per cent of possession against Liverpool, relying on counter-attacking qualities.

"I don't like this kind of football," Klopp said. "But that's my personal problem. I think they're world class, and I think they should do more for the game."

 

Klopp has the backing of former United captain Neville, who shared a clip of the German's news conference on Twitter as he suggested Conte's style of football would not work at Old Trafford.

"I respect Conte and his football enormously, but this Klopp interview gives the clear reason why he wasn't the right fit for United," Neville wrote.

Former Liverpool man Jamie Carragher, Neville's Sky Sports colleague, replied with evidence of the ex-United man calling for the appointment of Diego Simeone, the Atletico Madrid coach whose tactics might also be considered negative.

But Neville insisted Conte and Simeone were not comparable, suggesting the Atletico boss would work well at United.

"Simeone 4-4-2 aggressive style. Proper United that," Neville responded. "Conte wing backs? No..."

 Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was not impressed with Antonio Conte's tactics after Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw by Tottenham on Saturday.

The Reds struggled in possession against a side openly looking to exploit them as they dropped two points in the Premier League title race.

Following Son Heung-min's opening goal, Liverpool needed some fortune to equalise in the 74th minute, with Luis Diaz's tame attempt from distance deflecting off Rodrigo Bentancur and wrong-footing Hugo Lloris.

Liverpool moved top on goal difference, but Manchester City can go three points clear by beating Newcastle United on Sunday and Klopp was critical of Spurs' approach at Anfield.

"I'm sorry I'm the wrong person for that, I don't like this kind of football," he said. "But that's my personal problem. I think they're world class, and I think they should do more for the game.

"I think the game against Liverpool they had 36, 38 per cent possession, but it's my problem. I cannot coach it. So that's why I cannot do it.

"So yes, world-class players block all the balls, really difficult. Fine, whatever, fine, absolutely fine. I just can't. I respect everything they do, but it's not me."

With 67 per cent possession in the second half, the Reds generated a cumulative total of 0.17 xG from 11 shots, in comparison to Spurs' 0.69 from five shots.

Klopp took the positives out of what could be a costly result for the Reds four days after they reached the Champions League final with a win over Villarreal.

"It is an important point because it's one point more than before the game," he said. "We're top of the table. In this moment we're disappointed.

"The boys are more disappointed than I am, it might be because I'm older and I've seen more.

"Some good things tonight though, the counter-press. Just little moments, better decision-making. It's easy for me to say because I didn't run, like, I didn't run four days ago. We could have won, but also they could have won because of their insane counter-attacking."

Antonio Conte urged Tottenham to enjoy the pressure of the Premier League's top-four race as he claimed his side did not expect to be in contention back in November.

Nuno Espirito Santo lasted just four months in charge of Spurs before his dismissal on November 1, with the north London club eighth in the Premier League, 10 points behind leaders Chelsea.

Conte, who departed Inter after guiding the Nerazzurri to the Scudetto last season, replaced the Portuguese coach and became the first Spurs manager to go unbeaten in his first eight league games.

However, Spurs' form nosedived in February, with Conte losing four of five top-flight games for just the third time in his managerial career.

That led to questions over Tottenham's credentials for Champions League qualification, but slip-ups by Arsenal in April allowed Spurs to temporarily occupy fourth place, even if they could not fully capitalise.

Spurs lost against Brighton and Hove Albion after Arsenal were defeated by Southampton, before being held by Brentford as they dropped further ground in the top-four race.

Across those two games, Tottenham failed to register a single shot on target but responded with a 3-1 win over Leicester City in their most recent game, keeping them two points behind Arsenal with four games to play.

Conte acknowledged his side must deal with the pressure as they head towards the crunch period of the season, with a meeting against Mikel Arteta's side coming in the penultimate week of the campaign.

"It can happen in one or two games in a row, you can struggle," the Italian told reporters. "It can happen for many reasons. Maybe sometimes the pressure starts to become strong and you need to be used to this sort of pressure.

"Before these two games against Brighton and Brentford, we were behind the others but when we reached fourth place and we tried to defend this position, we have these strange performances. 

"But I think that this team and group of players are improving every aspect and also at dealing with the pressure.

"I think that we have to enjoy this time and this race. I repeat it was very hard to predict at the start of the season and November that Tottenham could compete for the Champions League.

"We have to enjoy with the right pressure and try to have a game for our fans and the people that watch the game."

Conte's side next visit Liverpool on Saturday at Anfield, where the Reds have lost just one of their last 27 Premier League games against Spurs.

However, Tottenham are the top scorers across their last 16 top-flight games, albeit they have either scored multiple goals (in 11 matches) or failed to find the net (five matches) in that period.

"I think that since November until now, you can see the stats, they’ve improved a lot since November," Conte added. "The goals we scored, the goals we conceded, the chances we created.

"It happened in the last two games against Brighton and Brentford that we weren't able to score. But I think in every game we create a lot of chances and score a lot of goals and the fans see us play football.

"I think the game against Liverpool will be interesting. We play a game face to face against a team that likes to be offensive, and we like to be offensive."

Asked whether Spurs fare better against bigger teams due to the space for Harry Kane and Son Heung-min to counter, Conte responded: "No. I can tell you that we played Chelsea four times this season and we lost four times.

"This comparison is not right. We lost four times to Chelsea and they are on the level of Man United, Man City and Liverpool. I think this is not the reason.

"For sure, when you play against [bigger] teams the pressure is very high but at the same time you enjoy this type of game because you play against a really strong team.

"And in these types of games you can also make an evaluation about your level and progress you made in these months.

"I think in this aspect it will be important not only to get points but to understand our level and the level we have reached, in these types of games and against these types of monsters."

Antonio Conte says Tottenham must "spend a lot of money" to compete with Premier League title contenders Liverpool ahead of facing the Reds at Anfield.

Spurs are locked in a battle with rivals Arsenal for a top-four finish and travel to Merseyside to face Jurgen Klopp's quadruple-chasing outfit on Saturday.

Tottenham will meet a Liverpool team unbeaten in 21 Premier League home games, while the Reds have not tasted defeat in their past 15 league games overall.

Klopp also saw his team secure the third Champions League final appearance of his seven-year reign with a 3-2 away win over Villarreal on Tuesday.

Looking back on the success Klopp has achieved since arriving at Anfield in 2015, Conte said Spurs require "a big investment" to compete for major honours as he highlighted the strength of their competitors in England.

"The time for Liverpool was easier than now," Conte said, "because when Liverpool started this work with Jurgen, they were a top team, not in a way they are now, so consolidated with an important manager, [but] always the same team, big investment, big money spent on the transfer market.

"They had also the right space to improve and reach this. Now, in my opinion, I am talking about this league, it is more difficult because the space is not so big.

"To reduce this gap, you need to spend a lot of money, because you need to buy important players. You have to know this, otherwise you cannot reduce this gap and hope always for a miracle.

"Don't forget that in England, it is more difficult because you find, in this moment, four teams that if they don't have a bad season they are there to fight for the Premier League, the EFL Cup, the FA Cup, Champions League, Europa League. 

"English teams are present in every competition, Champions League, Europa League, Europa Conference, Premier League, and the final of the EFL Cup was with Chelsea and Liverpool. Now in the FA Cup, Chelsea and Liverpool; the Premier League is a fight with Liverpool and Manchester City.

"It is not simple because you have a master in front of you; you need time. You need a big investment because you have to spend a lot of money if you want to be competitive and try to reduce this gap; otherwise you have to accept to stay in the middle."

Having drawn 1-1 on each of his two previous Premier League visits to Anfield (both as Chelsea manager), Conte is aiming to become just the fifth coach in the competition's history to avoid defeat across his first three trips to Liverpool, after Martin O'Neill, Peter Reid, Roy Hodgson, and Paul Lambert.

However, Spurs have won just one of their past 18 Premier League meetings with the Reds after winning four of the five before that.

Antonio Conte has strongly hinted Tottenham will be triggering their option to purchase Dejan Kulusevski from Juventus after an encouraging start to his loan spell.

Kulusevski joined Spurs at the end of the January transfer window, with the club reportedly paying Juve €10million (£8.3m) to take him on loan until June 2023.

That deal included a purchase option, which is reportedly set at €30m (£24.9m) for the upcoming transfer window. If Spurs do not trigger that agreement, a mandatory €35m clause could come into effect next year if Kulusevski plays at least 45 minutes in 50 per cent of their Premier League games and the club qualifies for the Champions League, according to the Guardian.

And judging from Conte's response when asked about his future, Spurs are already considering Kulusevski as one of their own.

Asked if the club is taking up the purchase option on the winger, Conte told reporters: "Yeah, I think he's on loan but it's like a deal ended.

"He's a Tottenham player, 100 per cent in every aspect. Not officially, but he's 100 per cent a Tottenham player."

Kulusevski has made a strong impact after a slow first few weeks at the club, with his creativity and ability on the ball making him a valuable asset alongside Harry Kane and Son Heung-min in Spurs' attack.

Since his Premier League debut on February 9, Kulusevski's eight assists is a Premier League high, with Kane (six) the only other player to register more than four.

The Sweden international has also scored three times over that period, making him just one of five players to reach double figures for goal involvements, alongside Son (15), Kane (14), Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo (both 10).

Kulusevski's ball-carrying ability has also been a weapon for Spurs. He has totalled 18 shot involvements (shots taken and chances created) at the end of a carry, a figure bettered by only six players.

Similarly, five of his goal involvements have come after carries, with no Premier League player managing more over the same period.

But while Kulusevski seems a certainty to stick around at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Conte insists he is not getting ahead of himself by planning transfer talks with chairman Daniel Levy and sporting director Fabio Paratici.

"No, no, no," he laughed. "We're totally focused on this season.

"Also, because I repeat, we're finishing this season with only 15 players and at the moment, it's not convenient to give them a list, because the list it would be very, very, very big!

"You understand? It's not a good moment to give them the list."

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