Harry Kane hails ‘great’ Ryan Mason impact and demands Tottenham ‘be brave’ in Liverpool challenge
Harry Kane says the Tottenham squad is “fully behind” Ryan Mason and called on the players to “be brave” at Anfield on Sunday after last night’s spirited comeback against Manchester United.
Spurs recovered from 2-0 down at half-time to earn an encouraging point in Mason’s first game in charge since Cristian Stellini was sacked, helping to banish the memory of their 6-1 humiliation at Newcastle last Sunday and build confidence ahead of this weekend’s six-pointer against Liverpool.
Mason was named Spurs’s latest interim boss on Monday — his second spell in the role — and has already thrown his hat into the ring for the permanent job.
“Ryan has been great,” Kane told Standard Sport. “He’s come in at a really difficult time after that [Newcastle] defeat and he’s not had long to implement any style, so it’s all been about motivation and getting some belief back in the boys.
“I’ve known Ryan a long, long time. He has a great football brain. He sees the game in a really good way, he has worked under some fantastic managers.
“We’re all behind him. We want to work for him and try to finish the season as strong as we can. And he’s a great guy and a great manager. Hopefully, we can finish strong and see what happens.”
Kane added: “We were a little bit unlucky to go in 2-0 down. But that’s the character and fight we have to show between now and the end of the season.
“It was good to hear the stadium rocking, hear the fans off their feet. It’s a shame we couldn’t get the three points, but when you’re 2-0 down against Man United, coming off the back of what happened last weekend, we can be proud.
“We spoke about these two games this week, just getting results, finding a way to win, finding a way to come away with something. Liverpool’s going to be the same. Anfield is a very tough place to go. They’re in a similar position of fighting for the spots we’re fighting for, so there’s a lot riding on it.
“It’s down to us to recover and show the character we did in the second half and be brave away at Anfield.”
Clinical finishes by Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford had put United in control, but Pedro Porro halved the deficit and Heung-min Son then converted Kane’s cross to earn the hosts a deserved point.
“Half-time was quite calm,” Kane added. “Ryan said not to try to get back in the game in the first five minutes. He said, ‘there’s another 45 minutes, be compact, be ready to hurt them like we did in the first half, but now we have to be more clinical’.
“We all said once we get one, we know we can really put pressure on them — and that’s what happened.”
Spurs fans chanted for chairman Daniel Levy to stand down during the first half, while some protested against the club’s owners outside the ground before kick-off.
Levy met senior players Kane, club captain Hugo Lloris, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Eric Dier following Stellini’s sacking on Monday, and the squad have reimbursed supporters who travelled to Newcastle for their match tickets.
Kane, who warned that Spurs could slip further down the table if they are “not careful”, urged the fans to remain with the team for the final five matches.
It’s down to us to recover and show the character we did in the second half and be brave away at Anfield
“The chairman asked for a meeting,” he said. “I think it was important [for him] to understand where the players’ heads were at that moment, coming off the back of that result. And it wasn’t just that result, it had been building up since we conceded the two goals against Southampton.
“It was an honest conversation of where everyone is at and what we need to try to do to give us the best possible chance to finish the season with something. We’re still fighting for fourth place, but if not fourth, we’ll try to finish fifth or sixth, as high up as we can.
“In this League, it’s so competitive, you can easily end up eighth or ninth if you’re not careful. I’m glad we reacted like that last night.
“When you travel that far [Newcastle] and you’re 5-0 down in 20 minutes, it’s not acceptable on any level, so we know [refunding fans] wasn’t going to magically change their feelings or make the result any better, but it was still something as a group we wanted to do to try to show we’re all together in this moment.
“I thought the fans were amazing last night. They really helped us in that second half and we’re going to need them until the end of the season.
“We know we’ve got a lot to work on — and Ryan knows that, too — but, ultimately, these last five games are going to be about mentality and character and more of what we showed in the second half.”
The away end chanted “Harry Kane, we’ll see you in June” in response to United’s interest in testing Tottenham’s resolve to keep the England captain in the summer.
“I heard what they were saying, but I’m just focused on this team and trying to finish strongly,” Kane said.