Ryan Mason has stated that his players believe they have the talent to cause Manchester City problems in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday.
Despite his relative inexperience, Mason has been entrusted by Daniel Levy to steer the ship after Jose Mourinho’s sacking, with the young coach facing the monumental task of preparing a team for a cup final just six days after his appointment.
The 29-year-old admitted that he has struggled to get much sleep since taking over the first-team reins.
The interim Spurs boss said (Football.London): “I think it’s normal when you’re preparing for Premier League games – it’s the most difficult competition in the world to get results, we saw that against Southampton, how strong and aggressive they are.
“Your energy goes into preparing the team – what do the players need? What does the team need? You need to watch games, watch moments, there’s so much.
“I’ll be honest, the first three days I didn’t sleep at all. I want this to go well for the football club. They’ve given me this responsibly to sit here and lead a team and a group of players for this football club.
“It’s a huge deal and I want to give it my all. Last night I had a good night’s sleep. I fell asleep in my son’s bed at half seven and I woke up at 5.30 am in the morning.
“I haven’t had that amount of sleep in the last three days. I’ve probably been surviving off two or three hours, so to get that was great.
“The body obviously needed it, I feel energised again and I feel good, I feel good. Once you stop being a footballer and start becoming a coach your mind becomes engrossed on what it is to be a coach.
“I’d be lying if my head didn’t hit the pillow in the last two or three years and I managed to not imagine myself being in this position, so it feels normal. It feels absolutely fine.
“I’ve got great people around me. The football club has been excellent. I’ve got relationships with so many people at the football club – players, staff, groundsmen everyone.
“I feel comfortable of course but the players have made me feel comfortable as well. It’s been a crazy few days but a good few days.”
Mason could now potentially write himself into the Spurs folklore by winning silverware in just his second game in charge of the club.
However, in order to do so, he would have to come up trumps against arguably the best coach in world football, who is in charge of the most expensively assembled squad in the game.
While Mason is under no illusions about the difficulty of the task his side face, he insisted that Spurs have the players to take the game to City.
He said: “There is no doubting that Pep Guardiola is one of the greatest managers of this generation and probably ever, but his team are a team of 11 players.
“We’ve got 11 players, we’ve got subs who can come on and affect the game. We’re preparing for us. We’re preparing for us to hurt them, how we hurt them.
“Of course they’re a great side. There is no doubting that. He’s a great manager and they’ve got great individuals, but we’ve got great individuals as well. On the day, in a cup final, anything can happen.
“The most important thing from our group of players is that we go into this match believing. That’s all I want from the boys. We believe. We have to believe.
“If you don’t believe, then it’ll be difficult. I know the group, I know the players, I know the feeling and we’re confident.”
The new Spurs boss will be sweating over the fitness of Harry Kane, who is in a race against time to be fit for Sunday after rolling his ankle during Tottenham’s 2-2 draw against Everton last week.
Mason admitted that the 27-year-old will start the game if he declares himself fit.
When asked about Kane’s fitness, the interim head coach responded: “It’s a combined decision [over whether he plays].
“Harry’s the player, Harry’s the man with that feeling. He knows his body better than me, he knows his body better than anyone else in the world. At the moment he’s not on the football pitch.
“But if Harry’s fit, I think it’s pretty clear and obvious, he plays in Tottenham’s team, he plays in any team in the world.
“He’s the best number nine in the world in my eyes so if Harry’s fit and he feels like he is fit then, of course, he’ll play, but at this moment we don’t know if he will be fit.
“We’ll be a lot clearer in the morning, we’ll be a lot clearer tomorrow (Saturday), but I can’t answer the question in terms of will he play or will he not.”
Spurs Web Opinion
From the interviews that he has given so far, Mason clearly seems to be quite an articulate and calm young man. While it is too early to judge his tactical nous, one can certainly understand why Levy would have thought he would be the right man for the interim role from a PR point of view for the club. He also seems to have brought some positivity back into the dressing room.
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