Antonio Conte will have had to help his side prepare for their quick turnaround since the North London Derby on Thursday. Tottenham will have had just a couple of days before their lunchtime kick-off against Burnley on Sunday.
The fixture is a massive game for both sides, with Spurs continuing to battle for a spot inside the top four and Burnley fighting to stay in the Premier League. The Clarets are currently on the same points as Leeds, who are just inside the relegation zone, but they do have a game in hand.
After Tottenham’s 3-0 victory over Arsenal, they now sit just a point behind their north London rivals, with two games to go. Spurs play their next fixture before the Gunners – they face Newcastle at St James’ Park on Monday night – and will hope to put the pressure on, after securing three points in N17.
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When Spurs travelled to Turf Moor earlier in the season, they suffered a 1-0 defeat, which was followed by an angry post match press conference from the 52-year-old. The Lilywhites have come a long way since then and Conte knows how important it is for his side to finish inside the top four.
“Our target is this because we know very well that Champions League changes your life, for the club, the fans, the manager, the players. The players want to play the best competition, the manager wants to play the best competition and for this reason I repeat I’m very happy for the improvement we have, but it’s not enough, not enough,” he admitted, ahead of Sunday’s clash.
The Italian will be hoping for no fresh injuries since Thursday’s game and football.london takes a look at how Conte may line up his side.
Lloris; Sanchez, Dier, Davies; Royal, Hojbjerg, Bentancur, Sessegnon; Kukusevski, Kane, Son
Tottenham went into the North London Derby on the back of a 1-1 draw at Anfield. Although Conte’s side didn’t manage to pick up all three points against Liverpool, they produced a solid performance to pick up a point.
With Cristian Romero missing out on Thursday’s match due to injury, it was Davinson Sanchez who stepped in and after a shaky start, he did what he needed to alongside Eric Dier and Ben Davies. Ahead of Sunday’s fixture, the 52-year-old confirmed that the Argentine would once again be unavailable.
As long as no one else picked up a knock between Thursday and the Burnley match, Conte would seem most likely to stick to the starting XI that performed so well against Arsenal. The front three continued to make an impact in the final third, creating and scoring.
The wing-backs have improved in recent games, with Pierre Emile Hojbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur continuing to build their partnership in the middle.
Lloris; Rodon, Dier, Davies; Royal, Hojbjerg, Bentancur, Sessegnon; Kukusevski, Kane, Son
Although an unlikely change, could Conte give Joe Rodon a chance after his feature on Thursday night? The Welshman got his first Premier League minutes under the Italian, when he replaced Ben Davies in the 82nd minute against Arsenal.
Rodon has made just nine appearances in all competitions for Spurs this season, with just two of those being in the league, and the defender may count himself unlucky not to be given more opportunities in the Premier League.
After the North London Derby, Conte said, “When you have these type of players like Sanchez and Joe Rodon, reliable players that whether they play or don’t play they stay and work very hard, the coach and the staff are very happy.”
This indicates that the 24-year-old is someone the Italian does feel he can turn to, if needed. Sanchez has often got the nod when one of the Tottenham defenders have been absent and so is likely to retain his spot on Sunday.
However, Rodon has shown the impact and quality he can bring, with his appearances for Wales and may hope he is given an opportunity, in Romero’s absence.
Whoever Conte decides to start with against Burnley he will hope can produce another solid performance. Tottenham desperately need the three points and will hopefully take some momentum and confidence from their Arsenal display, into their final home game of the season.
If the game isn’t going as expected, the Spurs boss will also be relying on those he has available to him on the bench, to come on and make an impact. Either way, the Lilywhites must secure three points in N17 to put the pressure on their north London rivals and keep their top four hopes alive.