Jose Mourinho has told his Tottenham stars they can boss next season's Europa League, but they must be in it to win it. (More Football News)
The Portuguese finds himself in the unfamiliar position of facing a major challenge just to earn a place in a competition which is overshadowed by the Champions League.
But he insists his Spurs players belong at Champions League level and is confident they would be among the favourites to win the Europa League, providing their name is in the draw.
Mourinho may need his Tottenham side to beat Leicester City and Crystal Palace in their remaining two Premier League games to earn qualification.
The match against Leicester on Sunday comes with added spice, given the visitors to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium are battling to keep a grip on a top-four place.
Seventh position, which Spurs occupy, could yet prove to be enough for a Europa League spot.
Mourinho said: "In quite a funny way I am telling the players, two more victories to win the Europa League.
"I know it's not like that, the competition is long with good teams. Some teams go from Champions League to Europa League which makes it really difficult, but it's just a feeling to motivate the boys.
"Our level is Champions League. The players have played a Champions League final. That's the level of our club.
"I'm just trying to motivate the troops, because it's important to keep that motivation. It's not possible that Wolves, Sheffield United and Arsenal have more motivation than us. To play Europa League is good – you can play and develop players. I think we have to try."
He added: "Football is not about what you deserve, it's about what we get. We need to win these two matches."
Mourinho had hoped to guide Spurs into the Champions League, which he has won previously with Porto and Inter, after succeeding Mauricio Pochettino in November.
However, a spate of injuries, affecting the likes of Harry Kane and Hugo Lloris, and mediocre form made that too much to hope for. Dele Alli will miss the Leicester game due to injury, Mourinho confirmed.
The former Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United boss is reconciled to the reality Tottenham will not be competing at the top level in Europe next season.
"It's not possible now, mathematically it's impossible. We know that for us now it will be a fight until the end to get a Europa League position," Mourinho said.
"We are sure that without the problems we had during all of the season, we would be of course in a much different situation. But that was our season, since Hugo's big injury at Brighton, then everything that happened.
"I arrived mid-season, impossible to be better than what it is. We need points to finish in the position that gives us Europa League next season."
Tottenham have won three Premier League home games in a row and a fourth would be a huge boon, as well as a record at their new home.
"More important than that is the points that we need," Mourinho said. "Like when we play Arsenal, important to win the derby, the only thing that matters is the points that we need. I just think that we need these points."
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