March 2, 2018 / 4:38 PM / 19 days ago

Soccer: Battle for top four spot will go to the wire - Pochettino

LONDON (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino believes the fight to secure qualification for next season’s Champions League will go down to the wire although they have the momentum going into the home stretch of the Premier League season.

Soccer Football - FA Cup Fifth Round Replay - Tottenham Hotspur vs Rochdale - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - February 28, 2018 Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs

Fourth-placed Tottenham have 55 points and occupy the final qualifying spot but with Chelsea (53) and Arsenal (45) still in the hunt, the London side need a strong finish to guarantee their participation in Europe’s elite club competition.

“It will be a battle until the end and we know very well that we need to be consistent,” Pochettino told reporters ahead of Saturday’s league clash with Huddersfield Town at Wembley.

Tottenham are unbeaten in 16 games in all competitions since their 4-1 defeat in December by Manchester City, who lead the standings by 16 points and can claim the title with five wins.

“That is what we need to do, be consistent and win games and try to finish in the best condition possible and try to get one of the Champions League places for next season,” said Pochettino whose team face Juventus in the last 16 on Wednesday.

They drew 2-2 in the first leg in Turin after recovering from two goals down and are favourites to progress but their Argentine manager knows they need to get into the competition for next term as the prepare to move into a new stadium.

“(Manchester) City are in a very good position now and they are so close to winning the title. We are in behind and we need to fight a lot with different teams to try to achieve the top four because it will be so important for next season,” he said.

Huddersfield stand 14th in the league, but only three points above the relegation zone, and are looking to win three games in a row for the first time this season.

The West Yorkshire club have fond memories of Wembley, having clinched promotion to the top flight at the national stadium with a shootout win over Reading.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris

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