Ryan Mason took his place for Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-1 win over Southampton in North London on Wednesday with the burden of replacing Jose Mourinho and without a single game of managerial experience under his belt.
So getting a Heung-min Son 90th-minute winner was a really, really, really good feeling and a burden off his shoulder.
An odd game that saw goals in the 30th, 60th, and 90th minutes, it was also surreal in that Mason’s only coaching experience has been in youth levels and as the head of development for Spurs.
“First of all the feeling is a massive relief,” Mason said, via Football.London. “It’s been a whirlwind the last two or three days but thankfully we got the win and most importantly I felt second half we were outstanding.”
Mason dedicated the win to former Spurs coach Ugo Ehiogu and his family. Ehiogu died on the training ground this day four years ago and Mason remembered him as “a great man.”
Mason’s Spurs looked a lot like Jose Mourinho’s Spurs, excepting that the North Londoners rallied from a 1-0 deficit to pick up all three points and maintain top four hope.
And they did it without Harry Kane, getting some production from equalizer-scoring Gareth Bale.
“Especially when you don’t have Harry in the team you need someone who can produce moments in the final third,” Mason said. “That was the decision for Gareth today, and thankfully he’s repaid that, the effort he’s showed and the quality for the finish was absolutely outstanding.”
As for Kane’s status for Sunday’s League Cup Final versus Man City, Mason couldn’t add much.
“With Harry it is just about taking it each day as it comes. We know he is doing absolutely everything he can to be back out on the football pitch. Today he wasn’t but hopefully by the end of the week we will know about bit more about that.”
Mason was capped by England in 2015 before suffering a career-ending head injury. Not 30 years old until June, Mason was a teammate of current Spurs players Kane, Erik Lamela, and Hugo Lloris amongst others.
Tottenham is now just two points back of fourth-place Chelsea and fifth-place West Ham and three back of Leicester City, though Spurs have played one more match than the Blues and Irons and two more than the Foxes.