Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has told his players they will win the Europa League next season if they can qualify for the competition as they seek to end the season with a flourish.
Three wins from their past four games have made them favourites to book a spot in Europe’s second-tier competition going into the final two matches of the Premier League season, starting with Leicester on Sunday.
Sixth place would definitely secure qualification, while seventh — the spot they currently occupy — would be enough if Arsenal do not win the FA Cup.
Mourinho is using the prospect of silverware next season as a motivational tool to make sure his players, who lost last year’s Champions League final to Liverpool, get the job done.
“In quite a funny way, I’m telling the players, two more victories to win the Europa League,” he said. “That’s what I’m telling the players.
“I know it’s not like that, I know the Europa League is a long competition and of course some good teams, of course some teams go from Champions League to Europa League in the knockout phase and makes it a really difficult competition.
“But it’s just a feeling to try to motivate the boys because of course our level is Champions League. I want Champions League, the players played in the Champions League final.”
Jan Vertonghen could be set to play his final home game at the club as he is out of contract at the end of the season and there is no sign of a new deal.
“Someone who has been in the club for eight months cannot speak about somebody who has eight years of brilliant contribution to the club,” said Mourinho.
“The only thing I can say is every day is a pleasure for me to work with a guy of his dimension. I can only have very good words about Jan. His future belongs to him.”
Mourinho confirmed that Dele Alli will miss Sunday’s match with Leicester with his hamstring injury while the club will again allow Serge Aurier to decide whether he is involved.
The right-back played against Newcastle on Wednesday just 48 hours after his brother was killed, but he is currently back in France with family.