EPL

Tottenham 'disappointed' to only be in Europa Conference League, concedes Mason

By Sports Desk May 23, 2021

Ryan Mason conceded it is "disappointing" Tottenham will only play in the new Europa Conference League next season. 

Spurs secured seventh place in the Premier League on Sunday with a 4-2 win over Leicester City, who agonisingly missed out on a top-four spot by one point. 

Jamie Vardy put the Foxes ahead from the penalty spot, but Harry Kane – in what could prove to be his final game for the club amid rumours he wants to leave – pulled Spurs level before the interval with a goal that secured this season's Golden Boot ahead of Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. 

Another Vardy spot-kick restored Leicester's lead, but there was late heartache for the hosts as a Kasper Schmeichel own goal and two strikes from Gareth Bale sealed victory for Spurs. 

The result meant Tottenham finished a point ahead of north London rivals Arsenal and will compete in the inaugural Europa Conference League – a competition designed to give clubs from countries that struggle to secure spots in the Champions League and Europa League a taste of European competition. 

While interim manager Mason acknowledged it is important for Tottenham to have European football, he said the Europa Conference League is not where they want to be.

"First of all, we wanted to be in the Champions League," he told a media conference. 

"I've said all along, it's disappointing where we are at this moment. It's very disappointing for the football club. 

"It's important we're in Europe; not the European competition we'd want to be in. Wednesday night was a massive dent for us [a 2-1 home defeat to Aston Villa], I said that after the game.

"The most important thing to do today was to come and win at a very, very difficult place. And I thought we came here and not only won, I thought we deservedly won. 

"I felt like we were the better team. I felt like we were in control, and like I said, we had some real moments of quality.

"So, it was important we finished today with a win, for many different reasons. Yes, it's not the competition we want to be in next year, but it's a European competition, and we will respect it, that's for sure."

A 23rd goal of the season sealed a third Golden Boot for Kane, the England captain becoming only the third player to win the award as many as three times, after Thierry Henry (four) and Alan Shearer (three). 

With 14 assists to his name, Kane also recorded his best-ever Premier League season for goal involvements (37), overtaking his 36 from 2016-17 – and became just the second player to lead the way for both goals and assists in the competition, after Andy Cole in 1993-94.

Mason – who played with Kane at Spurs before moving to Hull City in 2016 – was pleased his former team-mate topped the scoring charts again and described him as the Premier League's best player. 

"Harry Kane deservedly won the Golden Boot today," he added. "Like I said, all along I think he's been the best player in the Premier League. Most goals and most assists, it says it all.

"I feel very honoured to have played with him and we had some amazing experiences together, coming through the ranks, and I've been very fortunate in these past five weeks to have coached him, to have managed him and he turned up again today.

"He scored important goals in important moments and showed moments of brilliance. So, from an individual point of view I'm very pleased Harry has got another Golden Boot to add to the collection."

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