Ryan Mason wants Tottenham to restore link with fans after Jose Mourinho exit and Super League fury

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Dan Kilpatrick
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 (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)
(Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)

Tottenham's interim head-coach Ryan Mason wants to restore the connection between the club and supporters, as fans prepare to return for Sunday's Carabao Cup Final.

Two thousand Spurs fans will be at Wembley as part of 8,000-strong crowd for the clash with Manchester City, which is one of the Government's first pilot events for the return of spectators.

The link between Spurs and their supporters has been frayed by the tenure of Jose Mourinho, who divided opinion among the fanbase, and the owners' decision to be part of the aborted European Super League.

There was a small-scale protest against chairman Daniel Levy and the club's owners, ENIC, ahead of Mason's first game on Wednesday, a 2-1 win over Southampton, and there could be more demonstrations before the meeting with City.

The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust has called an urgent meeting of members for Friday evening, which could result in a more formal challenge to Levy and ENIC.

“To get Tottenham in a positive state, connected with the fans and feeling good again – that’s the most important thing in my mind at the moment,” Mason said.

"The most important thing in any football club is their fans.

"I had a great relationship with the fans as a player, I have felt their support at the moment, too.

“Of course if we get a positive result on Sunday then naturally the fans will be happy and the feeling will be different.

“But if we don't it is our job as a group of players and staff to make sure the connection is there and we finish the season strongly and going into next season the identity of the club has the fans on board, because I felt it as a player and it is important.

"It is a massive shame that [Wembley] is not full, that we can't have tens of thousands more.

“But some fans is better than no fans and the most important thing is the feeling around the club, the feeling you get form the fans, even though they won't be there we feel their energy.

“Hopefully we can create that feeling in the football club that's a positive one and there is a connection between the players, the fans and everyone involved with Tottenham Hotspur.”

Spurs go into the game as underdogs against Pep Guardiola's champions-elect but City will have one eye on their Champions League semi-final first leg against Paris Saint-Germain three days later.

"It’s a cup final, we’ve seen over the years, one-off games, anything can happen,” Mason said.

“We’ll go there believing, with confidence, that hopefully it will go our way Sunday.

“Form goes out of the window in cup finals. We’ve seen that. It’s a one-off game on the day.

“They’re a great side with great players but let’s not forget, we’re a great side with great players too. They know that, we know that about them.”

Mason was part of Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs side that lost the 2015 League Cup final and ran Leicester close in the title race in the following season, and many of the squad are still part of his current squad.

He admits Spurs should have won a trophy but says they will go back to doing things the Tottenham way, regardless of Sunday’s result.

Getty Images
Getty Images

“There was probably a two or three year period when Tottenham had chances, they maybe should have, but football doesn’t always work out like that,” he said.

“What they did do, they developed a great team. And the club went in a direction that we wanted, and everyone within the club wanted that.

“That’s how Tottenham should go about things. Unfortunately we didn’t get over the line. But if we don’t get over the line on Sunday, we still have our identity and our DNA as a football club. And that’s the most important thing.”

Harry Kane remains a doubt for the match but Gareth Bale is expected to start after being restored to the XI by Mason on Wednesday night and scoring.

“I don’t think anyone has ever doubted his ability, he’s proven that over such a long career now,” Mason said of Bale.

PA
PA

“His quality is always there, in those big moments, those key moments in games, he always produces.

“He's shown this year that Gareth in the final third is still Gareth of five or six years ago. You don't lose that instinct, that ability to arrive in the key moment and the selection of the finish.

“The finish the other night was absolutely world class and he keeps proving that if you give him those opportunities he's a player that we want in that area.”

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