Tottenham ‘will respect’ new Uefa Europa Conference League, insists Ryan Mason

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<p>Ryan Mason will be succeeded by a new permanent Tottenham manager this summer</p> (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Ryan Mason will be succeeded by a new permanent Tottenham manager this summer

(Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Interim head coach Ryan Mason admitted Tottenham did not want to end up in the Europa Conference League but says they will respect the competition next season.

Spurs finished a disappointing campaign with an entertaining 4-2 win at Leicester to keep hold of seventh place and ensure they will be English football’s first representatives in Uefa’s new tertiary competition.

Mason, who is set to be replaced by a new permanent manager in the summer, says it was important for the club not to miss out on European football altogether for the first time since 2010.

“We wanted to be in the Champions League,” he said after the win at the King Power Stadium. “I’ve said all along, it’s disappointing where we are in this moment.

“It’s important we’re in Europe, [but it’s] not the European competition we’d want to be in.

“It was important we finished today with a win, for many different reasons. Yes, it’s not the competition we want to be in next year, but it’s a European competition, and we will respect it, that’s for sure.”

Spurs twice trailed to Jamie Vardy penalties after fouls on the striker by Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez but Harry Kane equalised in the first half before setting up substitute Gareth Bale to make it 3-2 after Kasper Schmeichel’s own goal.

In doing so, Kane ensured he won a third Premier League Golden Boot with 23 goals – one ahead of Mohamed Salah – and finished with more assists (14) than anyone else in what could be his final season with his boyhood club.

“I think he’s been the best player in the Premier League,” Mason said of the wantaway England captain. “Most goals and most assists, it says it all.

“I feel very honoured to have played with him and we had some amazing experiences together, coming through the ranks, and I’ve been very fortunate in these past five weeks to have coached him, to have managed him and he turned up again today.

“He scored important goals in important moments and showed moments of brilliance. So from an individual point of view I’m very pleased Harry has got another Golden Boot to add to the collection.”

Bale added Spurs’ fourth to take him into double figures for League goals this term and ensure he finished his season-long loan from Real Madrid with 16 in all competitions.

Afterwards, the Welshman said he had already decided his future but would not reveal his plans until after the European Championship for fear of sparking “chaos”.

“I'm not going to speak about individuals when it comes to this summer and next season. We need to appoint a manager first but in terms of Gareth, yes he produced moments of brilliance,” Mason said when asked if Bale would be back at Spurs.

“I've said all along that Gareth won't lose this. You don't overnight lose that ability to produce moments when you're that good.

“He's proven that over a decade and he's been excellent for me and he's been excellent today as well.

“I thought he came on and changed the game. Some of the touches and the balls he played, he showed immense quality and I expect nothing less from Gareth.”

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