Former Tottenham midfielder Ryan Mason has urged fans to stop getting ahead of themselves as they lament over a disappointing week of cup football. Spurs were dumped out of both the EFL Cup and FA Cup within the space of four days following defeats to Chelsea on Thursday and Crystal Palace on Sunday. It, again,…
Former Tottenham midfielder Ryan Mason has urged fans to stop getting ahead of themselves as they lament over a disappointing week of cup football.
It, again, realistically leaves the club – currently third in the Premier League – with only with a top-four spot left to play for this season, with few expecting them to realistically challenge in the Champions League – where theyface Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund in the last-16.
The back-to-back cup exits are a huge disappointment for Spurs supporters, who are desperate to see the team – arguably their best of the Premier League era – lift silverware and avoid becoming this generation’s ‘nearly men’.
But Mason believes fans should stop and remember how far they have come in recent years, and perhaps lower their expectations.
Speaking on talkSPORT’s Final Word on Sunday night, the Spurs academy graduate said: “We need to rewind.
“I’m a Tottenham man and a Tottenham fan. I’ve spent my whole life going to the Lane and I saw them playing Champions League football once, and that was just a one-off. That was incredible and everyone thought, ‘wow, let’s just enjoy this season because we’ll never see it again’.
“Now they’re transforming the club into a big club, but, as much as it might hurt some fans, Tottenham have never been that much of a big club.
“Prehistorically, years ago they won European cups in the 80s but recent history suggests Tottenham are not a big club and they have not been competing with sides like of Manchester United, playing Champions League football every year and winning trophies.
“Now with the new stadium, the new training round, the manager and the squad, Tottenham are becoming a big club and people are disappointed we didn’t win the FA Cup – but that’s been happening for a long time.
“I think some fans need to remember where we were and the bigger picture is hopefully the trophies will come.”
Mason also came to the defence of manager Mauricio Pochettino, who faced criticism for fielding a much-changed side in the 2-0 fourth round defeat to Palace.
Injuries to Harry Kane and Dele Alli – both out until March – and losing Heung-min Son to the Asian Cup have come at the worst time imaginable for the club as they failed to score for only the third time this season.
French winger N’Koudou – making his first start for the club since December 2017 – was among those given a chance to impress, but at 2-0 he missed a glorious chance to score to put Spurs back in the tie, while Kieran Trippier missed a penalty.
But Mason insists the manager should not be blamed for reshuffling his team.
“It’s just so unfortunate these injuries and the Asian Cup have come at this time,” he added.
“Of course when you make changes it might raise a few eyebrows and people ask why he did it, but a few months ago Kyle Walker-Peters started a Premier League game and got three assists, and nobody said anything, Oliver Skipp played against Burnley and we won, and nobody said anything.
“Ultimately the manager believes in the players he’s got and he gives them the opportunity to go out there and perform.”
Listen to talkSPORT’s interview with Ryan Mason IN FULL above
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