Antonio Conte insists Chelsea have "created the gap" in quality between his former club and Tottenham ahead of their Carabao Cup semi-final second leg.
Spurs were beaten 2-0 in the first leg at Stamford Bridge last week; Kai Havertz on target for the hosts before a Ben Davies own-goal.
The Blues have progressed from each of their last 13 two-legged ties after winning the first leg, last failing to do so against Liverpool in the 2006-07 Champions League semi-finals.
Meanwhile, Tottenham are looking to become only the second side – after Aston Villa in 1993-94 – to reach the League Cup showpiece after losing their semi-final first leg by more than one goal.
Following the defeat, Conte conceded the gulf in class by admitting there were no comparisons between the sides.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, the Spurs head coach clarified those comments, acknowledging his former club are responsible for their superiority.
He said: "When I speak about the gap; to reduce the gap, it means that I am not stupid to not understand the gap between the clubs.
"It means that you have to improve the squad, the work and to have a project and vision.
"The gap is a space that you have with other teams and I think that, in this moment, we are to work a lot to reduce this gap.
"Chelsea work well, they win the Champions League and then invest a lot of money to improve their squad. This creates a gap, this is the truth. Chelsea have created this gap."
Conte also revealed Tottenham are in negotiations over a new deal for club captain Hugo Lloris.
Now in his 10th season with Spurs, the goalkeeper's existing contract is due to expire at the end of the campaign, but the Italian is confident he will remain with the club.
He added: "I think they have started talking.
"You know what I think of him, I have said previously he is our captain and a top goalkeeper. He has great experience and knows the club.
"For me, he is an important player. I am not the person who renews contracts; that is the club, and they are the people that do this, but I am confident."
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