Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has stated that he is looking to drag League rivals Tottenham Hotspur into a top 4 race after Spurs had a tough fortnight of fixtures. The Blues are also continuously ticking along and keen on closing the gap between the 3rd placed rivals as well in order to play Champions League football next season.

When Maurizio Sarri arrived at Chelsea in the summer of 2018, he replaced his fellow Italian compatriot Antonio Conte as the club’s new boss and hold the Stamford Bridge unit in sixth place on the League table at the moment. The former Napoli master tactician received plenty of praise and plaudits from fans and pundits across the globe after he brought a new brand of attacking and attractive display of football into the Premier League. Chelsea eased their way past their Europa League Group phase and also booked their spot in the Round of 16 of the competition.

The West London club also managed to make their way into the League Cup final but lost out to Premier League champions Manchester City on penalties. Chelsea also suffered a few horrific defeats against Bournemouth and Manchester City in the league as well which dampened their chances of finishing in the top 4 but the race for a Champions League berth is still well and truly on the cards.

Sarri’s job was on the line after the loss against City in the League cup but an impressive couple of performances have kept those demons at bay for the time being. Now, the main objective for the 60-year-old is to ensure that Chelsea qualifies for the Champions League and Sarri wants some of the teams at the top to slip up as well.

With Manchester City and Liverpool locking horns for the Premier League title, Spurs seem to have fallen behind and Sarri wants the North London side to scrap for a top-four finish. When asked by reporters about whether the hunt for a top-four challenge is still on Sarri said that he surely feels so. He added that he hopes that Tottenham will be involved in it too, with a couple of spots being up for grabs.

He added that it will be much better than three teams aiming for a single spot, as this would mean that four teams would be fighting for a couple of places. This would increase his side’s chances of finishing in a favourable spot and making their return to Europe’s top cup competition in the season to follow. This is something that the manager is focused on doing and will hope that his players can deliver.

Sarri went on to explain that the competition to finish high on the League table is quite difficult, “Now I can understand very well that, in England, it is very difficult to be in the top four. The Premier League is very competitive and very hard. Not only the Premier League, because you have to play in the FA Cup, the League Cup, and every match is very difficult. If you think that, in the League Cup, we played against Liverpool, twice against Tottenham, the final against City … it seems like a Champions League.”

Further, he spoke about his team’s performance against the other sides and said, “If you won against Liverpool, if you won against Tottenham, you can go into the final of the Champions League. So every match is very difficult and mentally very expensive. You risk arriving at this moment of the season really very tired, more mentally than physically. In England, the season is really very difficult.”

This is a bold statement by the Italian boss who will now want his team to put in some solid performances and back it up. They have not been the team in form in recent times and will have to really fight hard to make it into the top four.

Teams from the top four have some crucial fixtures coming up from now until the end of the campaign and there is a need for consistency. The Blues will be hoping that they can displace their north London rivals (Arsenal and Tottenham) at the top of the Premier League table in the days to come, after falling down a few spots in recent times.

For now, Sarri’s men will be focused on their Europa League tie in mid-week, when they face off against Dynamo Kyiv in the Round of 16 of this cup competition. The Italian manager will be hoping that he can win this trophy and ensure that his team makes a return to Champions League football, if they fail to finish in the top four this season, for any reason at all.