Jose Mourinho wants his Tottenham side to stay in touch with Chelsea before their blockbusting Premier League match later this month.
Spurs were 12 points behind Mourinho’s former club and looking out of Champions League contention when he took the job 10 days ago, but back-to-back Premier League wins and successive losses for Chelsea have seen that gap cut to six.
Chelsea visit the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on December 22 for what is sure to be an intriguing clash and Mourinho wants his side to still be within touching distance.
Spurs face Manchester United away, Burnley at home and Wolves away before then, while Chelsea host Aston Villa and Bournemouth, with a trip to Everton in between.
“We play Chelsea at the end of December, if the game was tomorrow, we would play them with six points difference, it would be a fantastic situation to play them,” Mourinho said after his side beat Bournemouth 3-2 on Saturday.
“But we play them in the end of December. We have to keep close, as close as possible. But we have a lot to work and a lot to improve.”
Spurs are at least back in the race for another top-four finish, something that looked dead until Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino.
The Portuguese has reignited Spurs and has taken them from 14th up to fifth, ahead of Sunday’s games, and hopes the forthcoming hectic schedule can see them continue their march up the table.
“When I arrived we were 12 points behind the last Champions League position and I didn’t want to think about it, I just wanted to play matches,” he said.
“I think we were eight or nine from a Europa League position and I said if we thought about it too much we would be depressed because we want to play European football next season.
“So, don’t get depressed, play game after game and see what is going to happen.
“Now the distance is smaller, we won two matches, we are going into a period with lots of matches, the Christmas period is match, match, match, match.
“So you have the chance of both. You have the chance to break down, we have the chance to put pressure on the opponent.”
Spurs were on course for a handsome win against Bournemouth as they led 3-0 thanks to goals from Dele Alli and Moussa Sissoko before a late drop-off saw them concede two late goals.
Harry Wilson came off the bench and scored them both for the Cherries, the first a sublime free-kick and the second a neat finish in the last minute of six added on.
Eddie Howe said: “We needed a lift and he provided, the free-kick was trademark and the second goal was all about the positioning, to know where to be for the cutback.
“He is a goalscorer, he has scored some big goals for us already this season.
“I am delighted with his contribution, sadly it wasn’t enough for us today. Harry has come on today and done himself no harm.”