Antonio previews Burnley: “We have one thousand reasons to play an important game”
Sat 14 May 2022, 13:07|Tottenham Hotspur
Antonio Conte has underlined the need for an ‘intense’ display from players and fans alike when we take on Burnley at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday (12pm UK).
The cracking atmosphere generated by our home faithful at Thursday night’s north London derby certainly factored into the way things panned out on the pitch as our superb 3-0 win saw us close the gap to fourth-placed Arsenal to just one point with two matches remaining.
Now we take on Burnley in our final home game of the season, looking to pile the pressure on the Gunners ahead of their trip to Newcastle on Monday night, with our Head Coach looking for another big effort from everyone inside the stadium.
“Now it’s Burnley, a crucial game for us,” Antonio told Spurs TV after training on Friday. “It will be very important to get three points because we have only one way of trying to take a place in the Champions League and to put pressure onto Arsenal, because they have one point more.
“It will be very important to recover from the game against Arsenal – we’ve played two important games, against Liverpool and against Arsenal – and for sure, mentally, we have to recover very well, but there are only two games to go, no time to think, we have to go straight to play another amazing game and I hope to listen and to see the same atmosphere in our stadium. For this reason, I ask our fans on Sunday to be with us from the start until the end and to help us, because they can play an important part in these final games of the season.
“It's vital – I repeat, it’s our last game of the season at home, we are playing for something important, for a good achievement for everybody, for the club, for the players, for the fans… for everybody. For this reason, we (players and fans) have to play this game against Burnley together. It will be very important to support us from the start until the end with the same intensity that they showed against Arsenal.”
In view of the newly-narrowed gap to the Gunners in the table, Antonio was asked if it’s better to be ‘the hunter or the hunted’ in the race for Champions League qualification with only a couple of games left.
“Honestly, I think that we have to look to ourselves and to play our game in this moment,” he replied. “We have to know the difficulty that we are going to face against a team like Burnley – don’t forget, away in the last game, we lost and this made me very angry after the game. We have one thousand reasons to play an important game, an intense game with the right mentality and to try to get three points.”
Relegation-threatened Burnley will also be determined to scoop maximum points for a very different reason – going into the weekend, they’re perched outside the drop zone only on goal difference, albeit with a game in hand on Leeds below them.
How does Antonio expect us to break down what is always a stubborn Clarets side?
“We are talking about a team that is used to fighting,” he said. “It’s very important to win duels, to be strong physically and mentally. Tactically they know us and we know them and the way to play, but the game will be very intense with the physicality and for this reason, we have to be ready to play a strong game. It won’t be easy, I know this, but at the same time, we are in a good moment, we are in a good position with great enthusiasm around us and we have to use all of these positive situations in the right way.”