Ryan Mason insists he’s “ready” to become Tottenham Hotspur’s permanent head coach and he has promised a “reaction” after Sunday’s 6-1 loss to Newcastle.
He is Tottenham’s third head coach of the 2022/23 campaign after Cristian Stellini was sacked on Monday evening following the 6-1 loss at St James’ Park.
This is Mason’s second stint as caretaker boss. He performed the same role at the end of the 2020-21 season when Jose Mourinho was let go.
He became the youngest ever Premier League manager at the time and, despite being only 31, the ex-Tottenham midfielder is up for the challenge over the next six matches, having developed his coaching skills during the five years since his premature retirement in 2018.
“I feel comfortable, it’s just part of being involved in football. You have to be ready and I am ready. I don’t doubt that. It’s just business,” Mason said ahead of fixtures with Manchester United and Liverpool this week.
“We’ve got a really, really big game Thursday and another one on Sunday. The focus on my behalf and the group is just to prepare for that.
“(My first time as caretaker was) just confirmation that I’m absolutely ready for this sort of situation. We handled it well two years ago. A lot has happened in the last two years, but I feel fine and ready in this situation.”
Asked if he wanted the job on a full-time basis, Mason replied: “Yeah, I’m ready and if that situation happens it obviously means I have done a good job.
“But that is obviously in the future of four, five, six weeks’ time and, like I said, the immediate thought is the game on Thursday and the game on Sunday.
“We have some big weeks before anyone in here can start to think of that situation.”
Mason’s previous time in charge of Tottenham occurred during the behind-closed-doors era, although a small crowd was permitted for his final fixture at home to Aston Villa in 2021.
When he walks out in front of more than 60,000 supporters on Thursday, the vast majority will still be stewing following Sunday’s debacle, which saw Spurs 5-0 down after 21 minutes at Newcastle.
At recent home matches supporters have chanted for chairman Daniel Levy to leave and the ill-feeling could increase if the team starts poorly against Manchester United, even with the squad promising to reimburse the away support at St James’ Park.
But Mason said: “(I expect) a reaction, absolutely a reaction.
“Obviously Sunday was disappointing for us and I would hope and expect there’s a reaction from not only the players, but everyone in the building and everyone involved in the club as well.
“I’m pleased (about the reimbursement) because our fans are important for us. We value them and need them.
“I understand that relationship has wavered recently, but there’s no doubt we need them and want them on board, and hopefully Thursday they can feel us.
“We want to get them on board and we want to get them with us. The only way to do that is to put in performances that warrant that.”
Mason could be without captain Hugo Lloris, who was forced off with a hip injury at Newcastle, and hinted at a return to the 3-4-3 formation that Antonio Conte used virtually throughout his tenure.
“When you have two to three training sessions before two games, it’s hard to change a great deal, but I would hope and expect towards the end of the season that everyone, not only inside but outside, will see my stamp and our stamp on the group,” Mason added.