Tottenham interim boss Ryan Mason admits that the Europa Conference League is not the competition that his players wants to be competing in.
Spurs finished the Premier League season in seventh after a topsy-turvy 4-2 win away at Leicester. The sides went in level at half time after Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane exchanged goals. Despite Vardy making it 2-1 with another penalty, substitute Gareth Bale came on and hit two goals.
The seventh-placed finish means that Spurs will compete in the new Europa Conference League.
While Mason admitted in his post-match press conference that he is glad to have some form of European football next season, he insisted that Spurs must do better.
“First of all, we wanted to be in the Champions League,” the 29-year-old said (via Football London).
“I’ve said all along, it’s disappointing where we are in 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, I said that after the game.
“The most important thing to come to do today was to come and win, at a very very difficult place to come.
“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.
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“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.”
The winners of the competition will qualify for the following campaign’s Europa League, unless Spurs finish in the top four.
In that case, they will – as normal – qualify for the Champions League.
Mason hails Tottenham game-changer
Elsewhere in his post-match comments, Mason hailed Bale for his contributions in what could be his final match on his return to Spurs on loan from Real Madrid.
The coach said: “I’m not going to speak about individuals when it comes to this summer and next season. We need to appoint a manager first but in terms of Gareth, yes he produced moments of brilliance.
“I’ve said all along that Gareth won’t lose this. You don’t overnight lose that ability to produce moments when you’re that good.
“He’s proven that over a decade and he’s been excellent for me and he’s been excellent today as well.
“I thought he came on and changed the game. Some of the touches and the balls he played, he showed immense quality and I expect nothing less from Gareth.”
Kane‘s goal won him the Golden Boot with 23 goals ahead of Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.
Mason said: “Harry Kane deservedly won the Golden Boot today. 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.”