Ryan Mason sends defiant message to Tottenham fans after ‘difficult’ defeat to Aston Villa
Ryan Mason is “absolutely confident” that Tottenham's situation will improve after they slumped to another dispiriting defeat at Aston Villa.
Spurswent down 2-1 to goals by Jacob Ramsey and Douglas Luiz, denting their European hopes and potentially leaving Mason's side in a shootout with Villa for a top-seven spot.
Harry Kane's late strike from the penalty spot ensured they remain ahead of Unai Emery's side on goal difference, with two games to play.
It has been another difficult 24 hours for Spurs with news emerging on Friday that Julian Nagelsmann is no longer a contender for the permanent head coach role.
Mason, who has thrown his hat into the ring for the job, acknowledged that Spurs are in a “difficult moment” but is confident it will soon change.
“When you’re consistent and you're strong inside, that definitely transfers outside," he said. “We can’t hide from the fact that we are where we are - it’s a difficult moment.
“But at the same time everyone is pulling together and trying to create a togetherness now and going forward and ultimately results change that on the pitch for sure, but the environment that you set within is probably the most important thing.
“Obviously we’ve had a disappointing season in terms of where we are in the table but also many other things. There probably hasn’t been that consistency, that alignment, that togetherness throughout the whole cub.
“That’s probably the most important thing going forward that we're going to change. I'm absolutely confident that will change. Football can change very quickly. When you've got people here that care about the club and want to make it better I believe that will happen.”
For the third away day running, Spurs conceded within the first eight minutes and they remain without a win on the road since January, while they last won outside London in October.
“Many different things contribute to that, but ultimately it's not good enough for a club this size,” Mason said. “And you can't expect to be competing where we want to compete and have that sort of record. So that needs to improve.
“That needs to be a collective, that needs to be driven from all of us. But it isn't a good enough stat and it needs to change.”
Asked if Spurs' form made him question his desire for the job, Mason added: “Absolutely not. I've remained consistent.
“I believe we're doing a good job in terms of what we're trying to create. I understand we don't have a huge amount of time to change too much, and we've seen this kind of thing too many times this season - going a goal down early and making it difficult for ourselves. But we understand we do have two important games, and it's still in our hands what we want to achieve. We have to learn and be better for next week because we've got another difficult game.”
Ramsey fired Villa ahead from Leon Bailey's early cutback and Douglas scored a fine direct free-kick to put the hosts in full control.
“To go a goal down so early in the game has happened far too many times this season,” Mason said. “We need to be better at that. It's a very disappointing day. If I'm honest I thought they were definitely the better team in the first half.
“Though I don't remember Fraser having to make many big saves. In fact throughout the match I don't remember Fraser having to make any big saves. The first half with the ball we kind of got it wrong, we weren't that great.
“That changed a bit in the second half, I thought we were more of a threat. And to be honest their keeper pulled off an amazing save at 1-0 that maybe could have changed the flow of the game. But a few minutes later they score from a set piece from 25 yards so it's a difficult one to take.”