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Norwich 0-5 Tottenham: Spurs seal Champions League qualification with comfortable win

Antonio Conte has said he ranks leading Tottenham back into the Champions League by finishing fourth as one of the best achievements of his career.

Conte said taking over from Nuno Espirito Santo in November was among the biggest challenges he had faced.

“It’s never positive to come into a team during the season,” he said.

“For me it was a big challenge, maybe the biggest challenge in my career. When I stay at the top level as a coach, I wanted to prove myself in a different situation with a lot of problems to solve.

“I’m really satisfied. I want to thank my staff and my players. If we were able to reach this big achievement, it’s because everyone gave everything.”

When Conte was appointed, Spurs were eighth in the table having suffered a miserable 3-0 home defeat by Manchester United, their fifth loss in seven league games, and appeared to be in disarray.

The Italian’s reign has not been without its issues, of course, with February’s reverse at home to Wolves spelling the first time Conte had lost three league games in a row since his days managing Atalanta in 2009.

And in March, when Spurs’ 3-2 defeat by Manchester United was followed by Arsenal’s win over Leicester, Conte’s side sat six points adrift of the fourth-placed Gunners having played a game more.

But Tottenham stayed in the hunt and seized the momentum in the race for fourth with a 3-0 win in the north London derby on 12 May, and followed that with wins over Burnley and Norwich to seal a return to the Champions League after two seasons in Europe’s lesser club competitions.

Conte, who has won four Serie A titles and a Premier League with Chelsea, said he believed Tottenham could finish fourth nine games ago, at the start of April.

“I was very clear with my players and the media. I said, ‘Now I feel we are ready and can fight until the end’. It was the perfect moment. The players know very well our schedule. We made a paper with our games and it was a fantastic run apart from Brighton.”

The 1-0 loss at home to Brighton was Spurs’ only defeat in that nine-game run.

“We got fantastic results and now we’re talking about the Champions League. It’s great for everyone at Tottenham.”

‘I dreamed of Golden Boot as a child’ – Son

Son finished the campaign with 23 goals, six more than his previous highest tally in a single Premier League season

Conte described Sunday as a “perfect day” with the feeling of Champions League qualification sweetened by Son Heung-min scoring twice to share the Premier League Golden Boot with Mohamed Salah.

Dejan Kulusevski’s double, either side of a Harry Kane header, put Spurs in command at Carrow Road before Son struck twice.

The South Korean trailed the Liverpool forward by one goal going into the final game, but Salah’s goal against Wolves ensured the two players ended up joint top scorers on 23 goals.

“It’s incredible to have this award,” said Son, who became the first player other than Kane to finish as Spurs’ top league scorer since Emmanuel Adebayor in 2013-14.

“I can’t believe it. I got really emotional. I dreamed of it as a child. Literally it’s my in hands. I can’t believe it.

“Until my goal, I was really frustrated that I missed big chances. I told the players I missed the easiest chances and scored one of the toughest tones. I didn’t give up. I wanted to score today. The team helped me a lot at half-time. They wanted to help me, you could see it today.

“This season was a great lesson. Next season we can look forward to the Champions League. Everyone deserves to be there.

“Conte gives us so many different things. Before he came here, nobody believed we’d reach the Champions League.”

Spurs can look forward to rubbing shoulders with Europe’s elite once again, while Norwich must regroup after a miserable campaign and hope they can seal an immediate top-flight return, just as they did by winning last year’s Championship.

Player of the match

Son Heung-MinSon Heung-Min

Norwich City

  1. Squad number22Player namePukki

  2. Squad number1Player nameKrul

  3. Squad number2Player nameAarons

  4. Squad number17Player nameRashica

  5. Squad number45Player nameSpringett

  6. Squad number5Player nameHanley

  7. Squad number3Player nameByram

  8. Squad number19Player nameSørensen

  9. Squad number20Player nameLees-Melou

  10. Squad number10Player nameDowell

  11. Squad number30Player nameGiannoulis

  12. Squad number16Player nameNormann

  13. Squad number6Player nameZimmermann

  14. Squad number7Player nameRupp

Line-ups

Norwich

Formation 5-4-1

  • 1Krul
  • 2Aarons
  • 3ByramBooked at 15minsSubstituted forZimmermannat 36′minutes
  • 5Hanley
  • 19Sørensen
  • 30Giannoulis
  • 10DowellSubstituted forSpringettat 61′minutesBooked at 74mins
  • 16NormannBooked at 31mins
  • 20Lees-MelouSubstituted forRuppat 71′minutes
  • 17Rashica
  • 22Pukki

Substitutes

  • 6Zimmermann
  • 7Rupp
  • 11Placheta
  • 18Tzolis
  • 28Gunn
  • 40Tomkinson
  • 42Gibbs
  • 45Springett
  • 46Rowe

Tottenham

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 1Lloris
  • 6D Sánchez
  • 15Dier
  • 33Davies
  • 12Emerson RoyalSubstituted forBergwijnat 73′minutes
  • 5Højbjerg
  • 30BentancurSubstituted forWinksat 73′minutes
  • 19R Sessegnon
  • 21KulusevskiSubstituted forLucas Mouraat 68′minutes
  • 7Son Heung-MinBooked at 85mins
  • 10Kane

Substitutes

  • 8Winks
  • 14Rodon
  • 22Gollini
  • 23Bergwijn
  • 27Lucas Moura
  • 42White
  • 44Scarlett
  • 45Devine
  • 51Craig

Referee:
Chris Kavanagh

Attendance:
27,022

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