Ryan Mason issues Leeds United advice and makes strong Tottenham statement upon Elland Road trip
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Relegation-threatened Leeds must win Sunday’s hosting of Spurs to stand any chance of achieving Premier League survival which would then only be secured if both fourth-bottom Everton and third-bottom Leicester City also slipped up in their final games.
Tottenham, though, are also looking to leapfrog Aston Villa into the Premier League’s final European qualification place and Mason has issued an upbeat message about the manner in which his side are approaching Sunday’s game.
Spurs fell to a 14th defeat of the season in last weekend’s hosting of Brentford which ended in a 3-1 reverse for the North London outfit but Mason felt Tottenham’s first half display was as good as anything offered by his side this term.
The 31-year-old says his team must now handle an “intense” atmosphere at Elland Road but is urging his team to relish the occasion and also be clinical en route to the important step of ending the season on a high.
Asked at his pre-match press conference what his side could do better against Leeds, Mason reasoned: "First off all I think we probably need to be clinical when our chances come because the game last weekend, I thought the first half is probably as good as we’ve been this season, in terms of with the ball, chances created, creativity.
"I really enjoyed watching us so it's important to take those chances when they do come but then also understanding that opposition are going to have their moments and in those moments you need to stick together, you need to make blocks, you need to make saves, you need to get through it as a team and ultimately, that’s what cost us last weekend.
"Yes, it wasn't a great second half but their two key moments, they too, they were clinical — and it changed the complete flow of the game so that's something we are fully aware of."
Pressed on whether he felt a sense of anger and frustration from his players after last weekend’s defeat and a desire to react, Mason pondered: "Not sure. I think naturally as a professional when you lose a game and we’ve lost games in the last weeks and months, too many, far too many for this football club — that is something that you would hope and expect to feel.
"And of course going to Elland Road, you know it’s going to be intense. You have to enjoy that. That’s something to enjoy. It’s a big game for them, it's a big game for us and we need to use it to our advantage as much as possible."
Mason added: “We definitely want to be competing in Europe. Any European competition is important for a club this size. But at the same time the most important thing regardless of whether we're in or out of Europe is that there is a plan and there is commitment from everyone to that going forward.”