Ryan Mason taking it one game at a time as Spurs seek to gatecrash top four

Tottenham interim manager Ryan Mason is not looking too far ahead
Tottenham interim manager Ryan Mason is not looking too far ahead (PA Wire)
10:52am, Mon 03 May 2021
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Tottenham interim boss Ryan Mason is not looking too far ahead as the Premier League top-four race hots up.

Spurs demolished bottom club Sheffield United 4-0 on Sunday – thanks to Gareth Bale’s hat-trick – to move five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and seven behind Leicester, in third, with four games to play.

Mason’s side are still heavy outsiders to gatecrash the top four and qualify for the Champions League, but if they win all four of their remaining games then they will have a chance given the difficulty in fixtures for the teams around them.

Tottenham thrashed Sheffield United on Sunday with Gareth Bale netting a hat-trick (PA Wire)

But the 29-year-old, who made it two wins from two Premier League games since taking over from Jose Mourinho until the end of the season, is only concentrating on their next fixture at Leeds.

“Honestly, we are not thinking about that, we have got four massive games, huge games,” said Mason, whose side also face Wolves, Aston Villa and Leicester.

“It is difficult to win Premier League games, we have seen that over the course of the season with many different teams. Sunday was important for us, it was a massive game.

  1. Leeds (a)
  2. Wolves (h)
  3. Aston Villa (h)
  4. Leicester (a)

“This week is a massive week for us, next weekend is a huge game as well, that is what we are looking to, we would be very silly as a group to look too far ahead because next week will be a tough match and we need to go there fully prepared.”

Spurs put the Blades to the sword with an attacking display inspired by a front four of Bale, Son Heung-min, who scored a stunning fourth goal, Harry Kane and Dele Alli, and the performance came after a week on the training ground with Mason.

The former Tottenham and Hull midfielder endured a whirlwind first week in charge but was pleased to be able to get his message across in time for the Blades match.

Tottenham have now won back-to-back league matches under Ryan Mason (PA Wire)

“I thought it was an outstanding performance from the team,” he said. “We’ve had a week to work and train them and train them hard and try to instil some principles, stuff like that takes a lot of time.

“The most important thing for me was the attitude, from minute one to 95, the desire to compete, to run, to fight, it was really, really good and then you pair that up with the moments of brilliance we had, individually but also as a team. It was a real pleasing night.”

United’s relegation to the Championship has already been confirmed after a horrible year since the first lockdown.

But interim boss Paul Heckingbottom says his side cannot afford to throw the towel in.

Sheffield United interim manager Paul Heckingbottom has urged his relegated team to keep on battling (PA Wire)

“It’s taken its toll since the first lockdown,” he said. “We have had a change of personnel and new signings have to earn their place in the team and that’s an issue and needs to be addressed.

“The change in league is a difference, this is a league of world-class players and that’s no disrespect to the Championship but you come up against these players every week.

“It’s taken its toll over the year but we can’t just wait for the season to finish, we have four games still to play.”

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