Ryan Mason said he and his coaching staff have “done a great job” during his second spell as Tottenham’s interim manager.

Tottenham closed their Premier League season with a resounding 4-1 win at relegated Leeds on Sunday, but have failed to qualify for European football next season for the first time since 2008-09.

Mason said: “When I go on my summer holidays I would hope and expect that everyone inside of our training ground knows who I am, who my team is and what we stand for.

“The hope and expectation is that you guys and everyone else sees that too. I know we’ve done a great job. I really do.”

Tottenham fought back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Manchester United at home in Mason’s first game back in charge and have since won two and lost three of their last five matches.

The 31-year-old former Spurs midfielder, whose previous stint in temporary charge came after Jose Mourinho was sacked in 2021, replaced previous interim boss Christian Stellini with six games remaining.

Tottenham had sacked Antonio Conte at the end of March and while they were then fourth in the table, they had exited all the cup competitions and weary fans had grown disillusioned over their team’s playing style.

“The circumstances were very difficult,” said Mason, who urged the club to get get their next managerial appointment right.

“I think anyone in the world coming into this situation for six games coming off the back of what had happened and the position we were in was going to find it tough.

“Also if you add into that being on an interim basis, where there’s uncertainty it makes it even tougher.

“But we’ve stuck to what we believe in, we’ve transitioned a little bit I believe in a short space of time and the players have responded, they’ve given us everything and ultimately that’s all I can ask.”

Throughout his six games in charge, Mason has called for the club to rediscover their identity and feels that is the biggest factor as they continue their search for a new manager.

“The most important thing for any club in world football is to have an identity, know who you are and who you want to be and stick to that,” he said.

Mason also paid tribute to Harry Kane, who scored twice at Elland Road – in what could be his last game for Tottenham – to take his league tally to 30 for the season.

“I think he probably doesn’t get the appreciation he should,” Mason added.

“The goals yes, outstanding, a 30-goal season in the Premier League is incredible but also his overall performances are just outstanding.

“I also think as well to go through what happened in the World Cup, from a mental point of view, to come back and do what he’s done for the past four or five months, I think it speaks volumes for the player and the person.”

Ryan Mason paid tribute to the collective after Tottenham claimed a first clean sheet in the Premier League since February.

Harry Kane’s first-half header, his 28th goal of the season, earned Spurs a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday that kept them in the hunt for a top-six finish.

Kane moved ahead of Wayne Rooney into second on the all-time Premier League goal-scorer list with his 209th top-flight strike but it was the other end of the pitch where Tottenham’s improvement was noticeable.

After conceding six at Newcastle and four at Liverpool during the last two weekends, Mason used his full week on the training pitch to tweak the 3-4-3 system used for the best part of 18 months since Antonio Conte took over.

Spurs went with a back four out of possession and it worked to good effect after Palace were limited to minimal chances with the hosts able to register a first league clean sheet since February 26 versus Chelsea.

“When you keep a clean sheet, it’s a collective. It’s everyone and everyone fought for the clean sheet,” Mason said.

“The players on the pitch but also the ones who didn’t because in the training week we’ve all worked hard together and they’re the results you want.

“We understand the importance of the win and the clean sheet as well is a great response from the players because maybe mentally when you concede so many goals in a short space of time, it can have an impact but the players have worked hard.

“The whole squad has worked hard on the training pitch. We’ve had a bit of time together to try and influence things and they responded. I thought it was a cagey game but overall we deserved the three points.”


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Spurs have spent the whole of this season using a 3-4-3 system but Cristian Stellini, who stepped up from assistant to replace Conte, went with a back four at Newcastle last month.

It ended up having disastrous consequences with Tottenham 5-0 down inside 21 minutes and Stellini ultimately losing his job as acting head coach as a result.

Mason hinted upon taking charge it would be hard for him to make changes for the Manchester United and Liverpool fixtures, but after a week on the training ground reverted to a back four, which he used in his previous caretaker spell in 2021.

He added: “We added a sixth man into the press and tried to be a bit more aggressive.

“I have to compliment the players because when you’ve been working in a certain way for so long, to make that change at this stage of the season it’s very positive for me.”

Roy Hodgson, who watched Crystal Palace lose for only a second time since his return, acknowledged the respect Spurs had given the visitors with their formation.

“I saw us on the ball for large periods of the game and I saw us attempting to get into the right areas,” he said.

“We didn’t have the success we had last week (against West Ham) or the weeks before, but that’s a credit to Tottenham deciding to defend as they did against us.

“It’s never easy to find that bit of space when there are a lot of players in and around the box.”

Harry Kane may struggle to resist the temptation to leave Tottenham in search of major honours at the end of the season, believes former Spurs striker Frederic Kanoute.

While Kane has hit 25 Premier League goals during another fine individual campaign, his quest to win a first major trophy never looked likely to end during a frustrating season for Spurs.

Tottenham sit nine points adrift of the top four after Sunday's dramatic 4-3 defeat at Liverpool, and chairman Daniel Levy has already sacked two head coaches in the form of Antonio Conte and his interim replacement Cristian Stellini.

With Kane about to enter the final 12 months of his contract, reports have suggested he could be targeted by Manchester United in the upcoming transfer window, while Paris Saint-Germain are also said to hold an interest in the 29-year-old.

Kane wanted to leave Tottenham for Manchester City in 2021, and Kanoute believes the England captain could be enticed by the prospect of an exit this time around.

Speaking to Stats Perform at LaLiga x Bloomsbury Football League event, Kanoute said: "I can't speak on his behalf but, obviously, the fans would be really, really disappointed if he leaves the club because he's been fantastic.

"At the same time, I think they understand as well that it could be a good opportunity, a huge opportunity for him to win trophies.

"I think he will be a little bit conflicted in the next choice he is going to have to make."

Tottenham are yet to name Conte's permanent successor, with Ryan Mason taking the reins as acting head coach following Stellini's exit.

With the likes of Julian Nagelsmann, Xabi Alonso and Vincent Kompany linked with the role, Kanoute has urged Spurs to look to the future with their next appointment.

"I wish all the best for Mason and I hope he's going to do a great job, but we all think it's going to be temporary," he said.

"Obviously the next appointment is going to be super important as I think it should be a long-term appointment, but as we know nowadays in football, there's not much patience. 

"I just hope the new coach will start with a few wins that will bring some positive momentum for the club.

"It's obvious that they're missing silverware and that's all the Tottenham fans are hoping that Tottenham can finally win a trophy, but I think there's a kind of unsettlement in the team. 

"If you want a trophy, you have to build it up, to have a certain stability with the coach, with the philosophy of what kind of football you want to deliver to the fans.

"I think they're still to reach that stability, so they can finally thrive in their football."

Jurgen Klopp slammed referee Paul Tierney after he made a series of contentious decisions in Liverpool's dramatic 4-3 win over Tottenham, saying: "I really don't know what this man has against us."

Having looked set for a routine win when they scored three times inside the first 15 minutes, Liverpool squandered their commanding lead before clinching a remarkable victory in stoppage time.

Diogo Jota latched onto Lucas Moura's mistake to fire home the winner, prompting an emotional Klopp to celebrate in front of the fourth official – an act that saw the Reds boss both injure his leg and receive a yellow card from Tierney. 

Klopp was angered by Tierney's decision to award a foul against Mohamed Salah in the build-up to Tottenham's equaliser, though his opposite number Ryan Mason felt Jota should earlier have been sent off for catching Oliver Skipp in the head with a high boot.

Recalling Tierney's failure to send off Tottenham talisman Harry Kane in a 2021 meeting between the sides, Klopp said the official has "history" with Liverpool.

"It was very emotional, of course, especially the situation before their third goal," Klopp told Sky Sports. "How they can give a foul on Salah up front? The linesman is directly there and keeps his flag down.

"We have our history with Tierney. I really don't know what this man has against us; he will always say there are no problems, but that cannot be true. I don't understand.

"How he looks at me, I don't understand it. I really have no problems with any people, and not with him either. He was the referee at Tottenham when Harry Kane didn't get the red card.

"In England, nobody has to clarify these situations, it's really tricky and difficult to understand. 

"My celebration towards the fourth official – I didn't say any bad words, but it was unnecessary. I got punished for that immediately, I pulled my hamstring or whatever, so fine, that's fair.

"But what he said to me when he gave me the yellow card is not okay."

Pushed on what Tierney allegedly told him, Klopp said: "It's not possible, I already said what I wanted to say."

When told of Mason's view on Jota's high challenge, Klopp said: "Ryan has to worry about other stuff. They're such a good football team, Tottenham, they have to play better football. 

"They can't just counter-attack. Diogo Jota has the foot high, but he's not going for the head.

"I heard Skipp could've had a red card. Did he speak about that as well? Wanting Diogo off the pitch... worry about other stuff."

The victory – Liverpool's fourth in as many Premier League games – lifts Klopp's men above Spurs into fifth, though they remain seven points adrift of Manchester United in fourth.

Asked if Liverpool could still make the top four, Klopp said: "Of course not. If United and Newcastle win all their games then how can we get there? 

"If they start losing them, we are close. Until then, we have to win football games to qualify for Europe at all."

Tottenham interim head coach Ryan Mason feels he deserves an explanation as to why Diogo Jota was still on the pitch to score an added-time winner for Liverpool after his head-high challenge on Oliver Skipp warranted only a yellow.

The Portugal international struck to secure a 4-3 victory just 99 seconds after Richarlison thought his first Premier League goal for the club had secured a late point having come back from 3-0 down.

However, Mason was incredulous that the substitute’s high boot, which cut Skipp’s head, did not warrant a red card.

“I would like an explanation and a reason why it wasn’t. I can understand referees on the pitch missing it,” he said.

“My feeling at the minute was an instant red card because when your foot is five-and-a-half foot off the ground and makes contact and there is a gash, it ticks all the boxes.

“We want the VAR to help the official on the pitch at that moment, but an experienced referee and VAR haven’t given it.

“A player that shouldn’t be on the pitch decided the game.

“I felt like we didn’t get that decision, it was a big decision, a crucial decision and one you can’t really miss.

“I find it hard and impossible to really understand why.”

Mason was doubly unhappy after seeing his side fight back from conceding goals to Curtis Jones, Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah (a penalty) inside the opening 15 minutes to draw level in the third minute of added time after Richarlison added to goals from Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.

“We come here and create so many chances,” he said. “On another day we win it with ease.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was also unhappy with some of the officiating, so much so that he pulled a hamstring charging down the touchline to celebrate wildly in front of fourth official John Brooks.

Former referees chief Keith Hackett wrote on Twitter that Klopp’s behaviour was “unacceptable” and that “if we are to get improvement of the Technical area occupants then the law MUST be applied. Do not allow your authority to be eroded”.

Klopp’s issue was more with referee Paul Tierney, but his post-match comments about the official may get him into disciplinary trouble.

“We have our history with Tierney, I really don’t know what he has against us, he has said there is no problem but that cannot be true,” he told Sky Sports.

“How he looks at me, I don’t understand it. My celebration was unnecessary, which is fair but what he said to me when he gave me the yellow card is not OK.”

When asked what Tierney had said, Klopp added: “I will not say anything about it. The refs don’t say what is said so I don’t say what is said.”

However, he still went on to criticise Tierney and their history, referring to last season’s 2-2 draw in London.

Klopp said: “Paul Tierney didn’t give Harry Kane a red card but Robbo (Andy Robertson) got a red card. It was not the first time, there are so many things.”

On his celebration in front of the fourth official, Klopp added: “Of course, we are emotional in these moments. It’s difficult. It is not OK, we shouldn’t do that. Yes, we are role models but we are human beings first and foremost.

“I didn’t say a bad word to the fourth official – not at all – but I pulled my hamstring probably in that moment so, fair enough, I’m already punished.

“A fair punishment for behaving not the right away. I have pain for a few days, Mr Tierney not.”

Harry Kane delivered a scathing assessment of Tottenham after a last-gasp defeat to Liverpool as the striker conceded his side deserve to be in the position they are in.

Spurs found themselves three goals down in the first 15 minutes at Anfield as Curtis Jones, Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah netted for Jurgen Klopp's men on Sunday.

Just a week on from a 6-1 defeat at Newcastle United, in which they were 5-0 down after 21 minutes, Tottenham this time almost pulled off an unlikely comeback.

Harry Kane and Son Heung-min set up a tantalising finish before Richarlison equalised in the 93rd minute, only for Diogo Jota to score a minute later to snatch a 4-3 win for Liverpool.

That saw the Reds leapfrog Spurs into fifth, and Kane acknowledged his team can have no complaints after another dire first-half showing.

"There's only so many words you can use, the bottom line is you need to go out there and show it isn't that case," the England captain told Sky Sports. 

"It's on us to go away, find a reason why and see how it improves the situation. In these moments and these games, you can't do what we did at the end. It's a feeling of gut-wrenching defeat.

"The table doesn't lie, where we are doesn't lie. We've got some fantastic players and moments, but as a team we aren't playing good enough collectively.

"We need to show we can go through games when it isn't going our way. We deserve to be where we are.

"We have four games. This one is going to be hard to take, but we have a week until the next game, so we have to move on."

An insipid first-half showing from Tottenham was almost atoned for when Richarlison headed in, although the celebrations were soon cut short as Lucas Moura inadvertently rolled in Jota to slot past Fraser Forster.

Spurs were aggrieved substitute Jota was still on the pitch at that point, though, with claims the Portugal forward should have been dismissed for a second-half aerial lunge on Oliver Skipp.

Jota was shown a yellow card for catching the head of Skipp with a flying boot, although interim Tottenham boss Ryan Mason believed the tackle deserved a red.

Mason told BBC Radio 5 Live: "Honestly, it's probably the clearest red card you will see on the football pitch. I need an explanation.

"It endangered the opponent, Skipp needs stitches, and Jota has scored the goal when he shouldn't be on the pitch."

Diogo Jota struck a stoppage-time winner as Liverpool clinched a dramatic 4-3 win over Tottenham, who had fought back from three goals down in a remarkable contest at Anfield. 

A week on from their 6-1 defeat to Newcastle United, Spurs looked set for more of the same when Curtis Jones, Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah scored within the first 15 minutes.

Unlike on Tyneside, Spurs showed plenty of fight as Harry Kane and Son Heung-min teed up a grandstand finish, before Richarlison's first league goal for the club levelled things up at 3-3 in stoppage time.

However, as Tottenham prepared to celebrate clinching the unlikeliest of draws, Jota latched onto Lucas Moura's error to fire home, sending Anfield into raptures and moving the Reds above their visitors in the Premier League table.

Ryan Mason promised Tottenham’s players will stick together between now and the end of the season after they staged an impressive second-half comeback to draw with Manchester United.

Spurs were coming off the back of a 6-1 drubbing away to Newcastle on Sunday and looked in trouble again when Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford fired United into a 2-0 half-time lead.

But Mason rallied his players at the break and they hit back strongly in the second half, goals from Pedro Porro and Son Heung-min rescuing the result and reminding home fans of their team’s powers of recovery after the debacle on Tyneside.

That result led to the sacking of interim coach Cristian Stellini by Daniel Levy, and the Tottenham chairman was the target of Spurs fans’ anger in the first half when it looked like their team would be overrun.

Mason, who has been installed until the end of the season whilst Levy searches for a permanent successor to Antonio Conte, said he was proud of his players for their fight and the way they went at United with the Newcastle result fresh in their minds.

“It’s been difficult after Sunday because the manner in which we lost wasn’t nice for anyone to be involved with,” said Mason. “But the most important thing now until the end of the season will always be to stick together as a team.

“Football – small details can change games, change results but ultimately the most important thing is to be together. And to everyone – the fans, the outside world looking in, they’ll see a team that’s solid and united together. And when you are that you have a chance of success.

“(We have) big character, big personalities, stuck together, kept believing and acted as a team throughout the whole game. That pleases me after what happened at the weekend because we probably didn’t have that as a group.

“And off the back of how the first half went in terms of the scoreline, to go out at half-time and stick together, fight for each other and really got our fans involved, I thought they helped us massively, and it’s pleasing.

“It proves a lot to me what I already thought about this group but to see that on to the pitch is a good feeling.”

Though admirable, the result did little to revive Spurs’ rapidly diminishing hopes of catching United in the race to qualify for the Champions League.

The gap to Erik ten Hag’s side in fourth stands at six points with Tottenham having played two games more.

Mason was asked whether at 2-2 he was tempted to go after the win that would have gone some of the way towards reeling in United and breathing life into the top-four scramble.

“We invested so much energy into getting that scoreline at 2-2,” he said. “It felt like we were almost acting a little emotionally to try and get that third, and sometimes that’s great but at the same time I felt there were a couple of moments when we looked a bit leggy, a bit open unnecessarily.

“So we changed it a little bit – still try and win the game but at the same time recognise the game and moment we were in.

“I felt once we had got the second goal the lads had sort of invested so much energy into it that we went a little bit flat and they took a little bit of control of the game without really creating anything.

“To come off 2-2 off the back of going in 2-0 down at half-time is a positive.”

Ten Hag reflected on a game in which, after a solid first half in which they dominated Spurs and were clinical with their chances, control of the match ultimately got away from them once they lost their dominance of the ball after the break.

“After half-time, there was a difference,” said Ten Hag. “We lost the control. We were not ball-secure. Then you have to go into the fight.

“When you lose your battles, you don’t block the crosses, when you don’t squeeze out, you don’t block shots, you concede goals and that’s what happened.

“Finally you have to be satisfied and take that point.”

Ryan Mason has a Tottenham team "willing to fight" for their place in the upper echelons of the Premier League after a comeback draw with Manchester United.

Goals from Pedro Porro and Son Heung-min helped the interim boss break the club's losing streak in the first game in charge after replacing Cristian Stellini

Mason is no stranger to the Spurs hot seat, having been caretaker following Jose Mourinho's exit two years ago, during which he was in charge for the EFL Cup final.

But after a 6-1 loss to Newcastle United last time out, Mason was delighted to get a response from his side that underlines their desire.

"In football, you can win, lose or draw but the most important [thing] is that we react together," he told BT Sport. "I have a team that's willing to fight.

"I thought in the second half, we were outstanding [with] the character we showed after last Sunday. I hope the fans can see that we were a team today.

"Those players in there, I know I've got men who when they pull together, they're a very strong team. That's my job, to inspire them and make sure we act as a team."

Goalscorer Son, who was supplied for his point-clinching finish by regular partner Harry Kane, suggested Spurs' performance was born out of frustration over recent failings.

"I thought we didn't deserve to be 2-0 down in the first half," he added. "We played quite well, we had the chances to score. But we weren't clinical enough.

"We didn't want to let the fans down, we wanted to give everything and that was the dressing room speech. We couldn't let the game go. We were really angry about it.

"Football is all about the fans. The last week was unacceptable, and we didn't want to repeat that. With them, we really appreciated their support. They were fighting with us."

Tottenham acting head coach Ryan Mason has acknowledged part of his role over the next month is to restore a connection with the supporters.

Spurs saw their season hit a new low on Sunday when they were thrashed 6-1 at Newcastle after they trailed by five goals inside 21 minutes.

It saw many away fans leave St James’ Park before half-time and while the squad have since promised to reimburse the travelling support, a toxic atmosphere could occur when Manchester United visit on Thursday night with chairman Daniel Levy set to again bear the brunt of criticism.

Mason, who threw his name into the hat for the managerial job on Wednesday, said: “I think the fans know what I feel for this club.

“They’ve always been great with me. I played for this football club and was fortunate enough to be captain, as well. They know my opinion and how much I want this club to succeed. The players know that as well.

“Ideally when you have a football club doing well on the pitch, the fans are with you. And I want the fans to be with us. But I understand that we need to give them a reason to be with us.

“And, yeah, that’s part of my job absolutely. It’s part of any manager’s job to create a connection and an alignment between players, academies, fans – the whole football club.

“It’s probably the biggest job of any manager and one I’m keen to do. The fans know that I care and want what’s best for this football club.

“Hopefully we can get performances and results which warrant them coming along with us.”

Mason unexpectedly put himself forward as a candidate to be Antonio Conte’s long-term replacement having also performed a caretaker role in 2021.

During his previous stint, which lasted seven matches, the former Tottenham midfielder played with a 4-2-3-1 system which was synonymous with his old manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Conte preferred to use wing-backs during his tenure and last weekend saw Spurs, under then-acting head coach Cristian Stellini, go with a back four for the first time in 15 months.

It ultimately ended in disaster at Newcastle and while Mason hinted it is likely he will revert back to Conte’s trusted 3-4-3 formation for the visit of Manchester United, he insisted doing the basics right is more important than any system.

“The most important thing is a reaction,” Mason added.

“We have to realistic and understand we’ve got injuries in key areas, which probably hasn’t been spoken about enough at times. We’ve got some key players missing in key areas of the pitch.

“The formation is the formation. The most important thing for me is how you approach the game: the aggression, the passion, the desire to run and compete as a team, because we see many different formations and systems be successful over the years.

“Arguably Tottenham’s most successful season (2016-17) came with three at the back. That’s just football.

“The fans buy into and connect with the feeling they get from players. Not so much the system or formation.”

Ryan Mason demanded a reaction from Tottenham's players after stepping up to replace Cristian Stellini as acting head coach, ahead of Thursday's visit of Manchester United.

Former Spurs midfielder Mason took charge on Monday, with Stellini removed from his role following a dismal 6-1 defeat at Newcastle United – who led 5-0 within just 21 minutes.

While Tottenham appear highly unlikely to contend for a top-four finish, there are still European spots up for grabs as they prepare to host Erik ten Hag's Red Devils.

Asked what he expected to see from Spurs against United, Mason said: "A reaction, absolutely.

"Obviously Sunday was disappointing for us, and I would hope and expect there's a reaction from not only the players, but everyone in the building and everyone involved in the club.

"I've been in football long enough to know things can turn around very quickly. I believe we can make a positive impact. We have a game on Thursday to try and react and get back to winning ways.

"So the feeling and the thought isn't on the whole situation – it's about how we're going to influence the players and get some positivity back."

United approach Thursday's game in high spirits, having reached the FA Cup final through Sunday's penalty shoot-out win over Brighton and Hove Albion.

Possessing a six-point lead over Tottenham with two games in hand, United could effectively end their hosts' ailing top-four hopes with a victory.

Asked how important the game was to United's own bid for Champions League football, Ten Hag said: "Very. You see the table. It is quite clear.

"But our approach will not change. Our approach is we want to win every game.

"I have to make sure that our players are ready for tomorrow. I have to make sure that they have energy and are on the front foot to go into battle."



Tottenham – Harry Kane

Kane has scored 99 Premier League home goals for Tottenham, and is bidding to become the first player to reach a century of goals in both home and away games in the competition.

He has scored five league goals against Manchester United in his career, but only one of those has come at home – in the final game played at White Hart Lane in May 2017.

Manchester United – Marcus Rashford

Having scored 10 goals in his first 10 Premier League appearances following the World Cup break, Rashford has now scored just once in his last five outings in the competition.

Just three of his 15 league goals this term have come away from home, but with the Red Devils harbouring doubts over Bruno Fernandes' fitness, Rashford will be required to step up in north London.


United have won their last three Premier League games by an aggregate score of 5-0. They have not won four successive matches in the competition without conceding since their final season under Alex Ferguson in 2012-13, winning six consecutive games to nil between February and March 2013.

The Red Devils have won 39 Premier League games against Tottenham. No side has beaten a single opponent more often in the competition's history, while they are also unbeaten in seven midweek (Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday) games in the Premier League this term (W5 D2).

However, the visitors have conceded 29 away goals in the Premier League this season, only ever shipping more on the road in a single campaign last term (35), and their injury problems may inspire hope of a new manager bounce for Spurs.


Tottenham 42.0 per cent

Manchester United 30.1 per cent

Draw 27.9 per cent

Ryan Mason wants to bring back "energy and positivity" to Tottenham after taking over as the club's interim boss for a second time.

The former midfielder has been placed in charge of Spurs following the dismissal of initial caretaker boss Cristian Stellini, who was sacked following a 6-1 loss to Newcastle United.

Mason previously was in charge of Tottenham on a temporary basis in 2021 following Jose Mourinho's exit, and led them in their EFL Cup final loss to Manchester City.

Ahead of his first game at the helm again versus top-four rivals Manchester United, the ex-England international is looking for a response after being handed the reins again.

"My immediate focus is Thursday," he said. "The most important thing is a reaction. Sunday was obviously very disappointing for us.

"I would hope and expect there is a reaction from the players, from everyone. Another important thing is getting energy and positivity back into the group and the fans as well.

"We have to be realistic. With three training sessions before two games, it is hard to change a big deal, but I would hope before the end of season people would see my stamp on the group."

On returning to the top seat in the dugout for a second time, Mason gave assurances he feels up to the task at hand, adding: "It came about relatively easily from my point of view."

"Naturally I feel comfortable, and it is just part of being involved in football. From a personal perspective, we handled it well two years ago.

"Obviously a lot of things have happened [since then] but ultimately I feel ready."

Tottenham lie sixth in the Premier League with just six games to go, and face a battle to ensure their European qualification for next season.

They are six points behind fourth-place United, who have games in hand on them, though Spurs in turn have a match to spare compared with fifth-place Aston Villa.

Tottenham have dismissed Cristian Stellini from his role as acting head coach, replacing the Italian with Ryan Mason in the aftermath of Sunday's humiliating 6-1 defeat to Newcastle United.

Stellini took charge on an interim basis following Antonio Conte's exit last month, but the former assistant has been unable to inspire a turnaround in Spurs' ailing bid to secure Champions League qualification.

Tottenham found themselves 5-0 down within 21 minutes of an extraordinary meeting with top-four rivals Newcastle on Sunday, the second-earliest a side have ever gone five goals down in a Premier League match.

The result represents Spurs' first five-goal Premier League defeat since a 5-0 loss to Liverpool in December 2013, leaving them six points adrift of the third-placed Magpies having played a game more.

With Stellini overseeing just one victory in four games since Conte's exit, chairman Daniel Levy has opted to make his second coaching change in under a month.

In an update posted on the club's website, Levy wrote: "Sunday's performance against Newcastle was wholly unacceptable. It was devastating to see. 

"We can look at many reasons why it happened, and whilst myself, the board, the coaches and players must all take collective responsibility, ultimately the responsibility is mine.

"Cristian will leave his current role along with his coaching staff. Cristian stepped in at a difficult point in our season and I want to thank him for the professional manner in which he and his coaching staff have conducted themselves during such a challenging time. We wish him and his staff well.

"Ryan Mason will take over head coach duties with immediate effect. Ryan knows the club and the players well. We shall update further on his coaching staff in due course.

"I met with the player committee today – the squad is determined to pull together to ensure the strongest possible finish to the season. 

"We are all clear we need to deliver performances which earn your amazing support."

Mason previously led Spurs on an interim basis following Jose Mourinho's exit in 2021, overseeing a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City in the EFL Cup final.

His second stint in charge will begin against Manchester United on Thursday, with the Red Devils entering that game six points clear of Spurs with two games in hand.

Gareth Bale has been given a rave review by Ryan Mason – but Tottenham's interim boss cannot say if the Wales winger will return to north London next season.

After losing his place at Real Madrid, Bale rejoined Tottenham last September on a season-long loan, but he is due to return to the Spanish capital once the Premier League campaign ends.

Asked whether Bale could stay with Spurs for 2021-22, Mason said: "I am not sure, I have not had those conversations.

"The club will have those conversations at the end of the season. After this game at the weekend he goes back to his parent club. He is a Real Madrid player.

"These conversations, these situations, I am not sure of. I just know hopefully he's going to help us at the weekend."

A report in Spanish newspaper AS on Friday claimed Bale is focused on spending next season with Madrid, before retiring afterwards when his lucrative contract expires.

There has been no indication from Bale that he intends to follow that path, and his playing prospects at Madrid could depend on who coaches the team next term, after the 31-year-old fell out of favour with Zinedine Zidane.

Mason has had no doubts about Bale's recent commitment to Tottenham, and he frowned on any suggestions the Wales international might be holding something back for Euro 2020.

"I completely disagree with that personally. I can only speak of my experience in this last five weeks with Gareth. He's scored four goals for this football club in that time. He's been excellent," Mason said, speaking ahead of Tottenham's season finale at Leicester City on Sunday.

Bale has not completed a full 90-minute game in the Premier League since embarking on his second spell at the club, but in 19 appearances, of which just 10 have been starts, he has scored nine goals in the competition, with only Harry Kane and Son Heung-min ahead of him at Spurs.

He has significantly exceeded his expected goals (xG) total of 4.8, and Kane (22 goals from xG of 16.76) and Son (17 from xG of 8.86) have done likewise.

Looking at Bale, and his performance in the 2-0 win against Wolves, Mason said:  "Last weekend I think was the most minutes he's played in the Premier League all season, pushing close to 90 minutes.

"I think if you were to look at Gareth in that moment he looked fit, he looked strong, he was brave, he added a different dimension for us and he has severe quality as well.

"In terms of him thinking about this summer, I don't believe so because he was out there the other night playing through some pain, playing through a problem he had, for me, for himself and for the football club.

"In terms of Gareth's commitment and Gareth's quality, I think his commitment has been fully there in this moment that I've been here and in terms of his quality, his quality is never going to leave him. I think you see that every time he's on the football pitch."

Ryan Mason insists his only conversations with Tottenham star Harry Kane have related to Wednesday's Premier League match against Aston Villa.

Reports this week suggested Spurs were left reeling by England captain Kane expressing a desire to leave his boyhood club at the end of the season.

Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United have all been linked with a move for the prolific striker, who has 22 goals and 13 assists in 33 top-flight games this season.

Mason insists Kane is feeling good and is excited about the home match with Villa, though he could not provide clarity on his close friend's transfer decision.

Asked if Kane had indeed asked to leave, Mason said: "No, not that I'm aware of.

"All this speculation - I'm not sure. All of my conversations I've had with H have been about the game the other day [against Wolves] and also preparing for the game tomorrow. So no - I don't know."


Spurs are sixth in the table and Mason does not think there is any awkwardness regarding Kane, instead focusing on the return of supporters to the ground.

Interim Spurs boss Mason added: "I speak to Harry pretty much every day - before I got this job it was the same.

"I have asked him how he is feeling. He feels fine. Looking forward to tomorrow. He's going to be 100 per cent committed. I'm looking forward to seeing him play, in our beautiful stadium, in front of our fans. So we're excited.

"He's excited along with me about the game. Our only discussions have been about that, we are looking forward to it.

"No, I don't think anything is awkward. There's always speculation around the best players.

"There's been speculation in the last three or four weeks about the new manager coming in, all these question marks which is normal when you're at a big club.

"Our focus – and I've said it all along – is on the next game. My mind hasn't deviated from that, I'm sure Harry's hasn't.

"I'm sure in the rest of the group, every individual, their minds haven't deviated from that."

Mason did not agree with a question suggesting the Villa game could be a send-off for Kane.

He replied: "A send-off? No, we've got a game at the weekend as well [against Leicester City] so Harry is definitely going to be involved in them.

"Like I've said all along, I can't speak about next season, whether that's a manager or a player.

"What I do know is that the fans will get behind us. They're excited about the game, along with the players.

"I think [Kane] starts as he is our best striker and one of the best in the world.

"I've said all along, I am here for the next two games and that's my main focus. Hopefully we can win with Harry up front.

"No, there's no sadness [about the Kane situation]. I'm happy because we have our fans back in our stadium. I'm looking forward to it. The fans will make a big difference. The focus is: can we get three points tomorrow? We have to respect Villa."

Kane was impressive in the 2-0 weekend win over Wolves and will now set his sights on another team from the midlands.

"I think what we've seen with Harry this season, and all players, is that they're committed," Mason said. "The weekend was an exceptional performance – best he's been in the last five games. So I'm sure this will be no different.

"The fans will love seeing him play. He's been at the club since a young age. Fans are excited to be there."

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