Tottenham vs Man City tactics: Ryan Mason must keep it simple in Carabao Cup Final, writes Alan Smith

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Alan Smith
·3-min read
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 (PA)
(PA)

Eight thousand in attendance, four thousand of them fans, doesn't sound a lot inside a 90,000-seat stadium, but they will still make a noise if something gets them going. And something, of course, already has, namely the fiasco known as the European Super League.

Both Manchester City and Tottenham were jumping in with both feet before the tide thankfully turned. Will we see banners proclaiming disgust? Will Wembley host an atmosphere much different from the norm?

Ryan Mason, for one, will be hoping not, since Tottenham's interim manager really needs everything in his favour to come out on top in this lop-sided duel.

If it isn't hard enough taking charge as a fledgeling coach, he has got to get the better of Pep Guardiola, an all-time master in the technical area.

Mason doesn't carry the weight to be getting too technical, especially with seasoned internationals older than him. They'd see through that straight away. The 29-year-old must focus on keeping it simple.

Sometimes that means just playing to your strengths, which is definitely the attacking side in Tottenham's case.

Between now and tomorrow, Mason could talk for hours to his players about trying to negate City. He could bore the lads senseless with analytical info and endless clips of Phil Foden's movement.

Don't get me wrong, all of that needs addressing, but only up to a point. No, the big challenge for Mason, maybe still in shock after this heady promotion, is to strike the right balance between tactics and approach.

Overloading his players with instructions could easily backfire when everyone knows City are the much better team.

This is where Mason can improve on Jose Mourinho, which seems like an unlikely achievement for someone so raw.

POOL/AFP via Getty Images
POOL/AFP via Getty Images

But Mourinho, we know, spent a large part of training working on defensive shape. So much, in fact, that the players grew bored of the repetition, particularly when these sessions didn't bear fruit on matchdays.

Because of that, Mason can easily perk everyone up with more positive and enjoyable work that concentrates on extracting the most out of Heung-min Son, Gareth Bale and Harry Kane, who I believe will declare himself fit for this Wembley showpiece.

And that means going at City, regularly bringing those attackers into the game. After that, it's about the whole team getting to the ball quickly, winning individual battles all over the field. It might sound a bit old-school, but those tasks remain central to effective sides.

And do you know what? The Spurs fans inside Wembley might just respond to such energy, forgetting that ugly European stuff for a short while.

All supporters love to see an adventurous effort. For Mason and his players, that would appear the best way to go.

AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images

West Ham vs Chelsea

Chelsea missed a great chance to go third when they were held 0-0 by Brighton on Tuesday. Perhaps the day's seismic events derailed them a little, since they looked a shadow of the team that overcame Manchester City to reach the FA Cup Final.

In addition, Leicester's comfortable win over West Brom last night eased the Foxes four points ahead of them, which makes this contest look a little more like a battle for fourth. Mind you, if West Ham's recent matches are anything to go by, this one should be a cracker.

Having scored 11 and conceded 10 in four League games, the Hammers have somehow turned into the great entertainers, a title David Moyes might not be entirely happy with.

He wouldn't have enjoyed seeing struggling Newcastle knock in three last week. You sense a boring 1-0 win would suffice for both sides.

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