Spurs midfielder: We must learn from Man City if we want to progress
Ryan Mason says Tottenham can take lessons from Manchester City’s 1-0 victory at White Hart Lane, stating the Lilywhites need to be more clinical, show the “know-how” that the top teams exhibit and lose some of their naivety if they are to progress.
Spurs had the majority of the possession and managed more shots on goal than City on Sunday, but only five of their 21 efforts were on target and visiting goalkeeper Joe Hart saved all of those in a fine individual display.
Instead it was City who won the game, with Sergio Aguero finishing off a break while Tottenham’s centre-backs were upfield attacking a corner, with the Argentine netting his 10th goal in seven games against the Lilywhites.
Given Spurs had been heavily beaten in the three previous meetings – losing 6-0, 5-1 and 4-1 – they can take encouragement from the fact that they kept Hart so busy, and that they were unfortunate to lose.
Mason believes the display provides evidence of the improvements Tottenham have been making under Mauricio Pochettino - but he feels there are important lessons to learn if he and his team-mates are to challenge the elite sides for a top-four finish next term.
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“As a team we have got good results against Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal here [at the Lane], where we feel like if we play our game we can get results against anyone,” said Mason. “It’s just about doing that on a consistent basis.
“I thought we created enough chances to definitely get a draw, if not win the game, but I spoke before the game about being clinical and we weren’t that.
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“I just think it’s about being clinical and maybe that know-how. City knew how to shut out the game and that’s something we have to learn quickly for next season because we’ve got a young team, and I think we need to learn how to play badly and win games.
“First and foremost we want to win games, we want to play attractive football and score goals past the opposition, but I think there are times when maybe we’ve been a bit naive.
“But I can’t fault our effort [against City] and the way we played because I thought we were fantastic. It’s just a shame we didn’t convert some of our chances.”
On a personal note, Mason is nearing the end of a notable campaign where he has earned the trust of Mauricio Pochettino, held down a regular first-team place at his boyhood club and made his England debut.
“It’s been a breakthrough season,” said the midfielder. “I’m delighted how it’s been but the big challenge now is to carry on and keep improving for next season.
“It’s the first time I’m going into a break feeling like a footballer. I’ve had 34 or 35 games and that’s probably been the first time in my career that’s happened.
“After the next three games I’ll look forward to the summer, but probably within a couple of weeks I’ll be dying to get back into it and pre-season.”
The disappointment for Tottenham is that their competitive campaign petered out so early, leaving them with little to play for in the final run-in.
Mason added: “I think it’s been a positive season all round. It’s disappointing the way the last few games have been but we have got three games to go and hopefully we can get three results there.
“Is it difficult to stay motivated? No I don’t think it’s hard at all. We’re a very young team and we want to be playing games. There’s no sense of us thinking about our holidays at all. You can see with the effort the boys put in [against City, we gave absolutely everything and that won’t be a problem at all.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs