Azpilicueta warns Tottenham they have been dragged into top-four battle with Chelsea

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The Blues defender believes the scrap for two Champions League spots behind Liverpool and Manchester City is set to be contested by four clubs

Cesar Azpilicueta considers Tottenham to have been dragged into a top-four battle with Chelsea as the Blues seek to become upwardly mobile and snatch a Champions League spot.

Maurizio Sarri’s side sit sixth in the table as things stand, with a recent wobble having seen them slip down the standings.

They have, however, secured back-to-back victories in London derby dates with Spurs and Fulham, and remain just two points back on fourth-placed Manchester United.

Tottenham are only another three clear of the Red Devils, with a three-game winless run dropping them out of title contention.

Azpilicueta believes there is now all to play for as four sides scrap it out for two spots behind Manchester City and Liverpool, with the Spaniard telling Chelsea’s official website: “Now, after the last results, Tottenham is in the race to make the top four, that is clear.

“It is in our hands to make it possible, so we have 10 games remaining and now we have to fight.

“We have two games in the Premier League before the international break, we have to be focused on those, and two legs of the Europa League and let’s see where we can finish, but our aim as always at Chelsea is to try to finish as high as possible.”

Sarri’s side aided that cause on Sunday with a 2-1 victory over neighbours Fulham.

Gonzalo Higuain Chelsea 2019

Gonzalo Higuain and Jorginho were on target for the Blues, with Azpilicueta helping to tee up the former for his third goal for the club.

The Chelsea full-back said of that link up: “It is something we are trying to improve on when we get into those areas, to try to find the right pass. Gonzalo is very clever in his movements.”

While an Argentine striker helped to get Chelsea over the line, their Spanish goalkeeper starred at the opposite end of the field.

Kepa Arrizabalaga has made plenty of unwelcome headlines over recent weeks, following his refusal to be substituted in the Carabao Cup final, but he was returned to the starting XI at Craven Cottage and is considered to have brought an unfortunate saga to a close.

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“He made a couple of good saves. This is all done [the follow-up from the Wembley incident] and now we have to be focused on the last two-and-a-half months we have,” said Azpilicueta.

“We have important games coming up. We need from everybody, the squad is ready to fight for everything and we have been working really hard. Now we have to try to get to the targets that we want.”

Chelsea are set to face Dynamo Kiev in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 encounter on Thursday before then playing host to Wolves at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

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