There is growing belief at Tottenham Hotspur that they can close the gap on Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea and put themselves in the mix for domestic silverware this season.

Last season’s fourth-placed finish represented an over-achievement for the club, who began the campaign in decline and with modest expectations, but the return of Champions League football and a host of new signings have raised the bar.

A year ago Nuno Espirito Santo had just been hired as coach when it was clear Antonio Conte was first choice, talisman Harry Kane looked distracted after a move to Manchester City fell through and the squad appeared weak in key areas.

Espirito Santo lasted a mere 17 games and former Juventus, Chelsea and Inter Milan boss Conte eventually arrived in November to revive a season that had been going nowhere fast.

He immediately banned ketchup and mayonnaise from the canteen, got the squad fitter and, despite having no qualms about expressing how far his side were away from challenging the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool, got the team ticking.

Extracting every last drop from his players, Conte’s side won 11 of their last 16 Premier League games to overhaul Manchester United and Arsenal in the race for a top-four finish.

Spurs forward Hueng Min Son

As he begins his first full campaign in charge with a fully firing Harry Kane and a squad that looks to have the depth and quality to challenge on multiple fronts, the Italian will seek to take that momentum into the new season.

Goal Spree

Tottenham’s storming finish to last season was sparked by the return to form of Kane and Son Heung-min’s goal spree but two January signings -- forward Dejan Kulusevski and midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur from Juve -- were key to Spurs’ resurgence.

Kulusevski offered strength, pace and guile down the right while the elegant Bentancur provided a midfield pivot that gave Conte the kind of control he demands from his teams.

Tottenham beat Manchester City and drew at Liverpool during their storming run-in and secured Champions League football with a 5-0 win at Norwich City on the final day.

Spurs forward Harry Kane in action in the pre-season

Since then several new faces have arrived with only winger Steven Bergwijn departing as Conte moulds a squad capable of ending a trophy drought lasting since 2008.

Experienced Croatian Ivan Perisic offers Conte variety down the left and even as a forward, while Ivorian Yves Bissouma, signed from Brighton & Hove Albion for 26 million pounds ($31.39 million), gives Spurs more central midfield power.

Antonio Conte with new Tottenham recruit Richarlison

Versatile Brazil forward Richarlison, who cost 52 million pounds from Everton, gives Tottenham a third attacking option as a complement to the Kane and Son show.

Londoner Djed Spence, Middlesbrough’s highly-rated attacking right back, also represents an upgrade in a position that was sometimes problematic for Spurs last season.

A few more signings, incuding perhaps a central defender, could complete the jigsaw for serial winner Conte who will be expected to deliver this season.