Tottenham boss Ryan Mason says his players are feeling the pain after they again fell short on the big stage following a 1-0 Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester City.
Spurs were aiming to end a 13-year trophy drought at Wembley but lost to Aymeric Laporte’s late header as they suffered another final loss.
In recent years they have lost the 2015 Carabao Cup final, which interim boss Mason played in, the 2019 Champions League final and also fallen away in two Premier League title races.
There were scenes of devastation at full-time, with Son Heung-min was in tears on the pitch, while Eric Dier had to stop a post-match interview to compose himself, and Mason says the dressing room is hurting.
“Pain. It hurts. I’ve been sitting in there as a player, I’ve played for this football club and lost a final, I know what it’s like,” said Mason, who was only appointed on an interim basis on Tuesday due to Jose Mourinho’s sacking.
“I know that feeling. It’s normal that they’re hurting. It’s normal, because it shows that they care.
“And this group of players care deeply about this football club. I think we saw that today, they gave absolutely everything, 100 per cent commitment. We tried, we tried, it wasn’t enough today, that’s tough to take.
“City are a great side, an incredible team but I think our group of players gave everything with what they have had to deal with in seven days, the lack of preparation but they gave everything, absolutely everything. That is something to be proud of.
“I think when you lose a cup final, it’s disappointing. We’re all hurting. I am, the players are and I’m sure the fans are and everyone associated with the football club. It’s difficult to take. Obviously it’s my job, a coach’s job to start giving the players a platform and start preparing, start planning.”
“I thought the first one was an absolute certain yellow,” Mason added. “It’s not the talking point because maybe he doesn’t make the second foul if he’s on a yellow.
“Listen, it happened. At that point it was 0-0 and 0-0 for a very long time in the second half as well.
“That isn’t on our minds at this moment as we’re trying to get over the fact we’ve just lost the cup final. It’s difficult to take, it’s difficult to take for the group of players and for everyone associated with the football club. We have to move on.”
Mason came into the week as an academy coach but ended it walking his boyhood club out at Wembley, but he is not looking too far into the future in terms of his own role.
“I’ll be completely honest: my mind now is sad because of what just happened,” he said. “I’m not thinking of five-six-seven weeks down the line or the next six months or the next year of what I plan to do, because you can’t in football.
“You just have to be ready in the moment, and you have to live in the moment. And I’m going to do that for the next day, the next two days – my focus will be preparing this team for a big game next weekend.
“Once we’re on the training pitch, once we get them back out there, that’s my focus, and nothing else.”