Jose Mourinho: What now after Tottenham sacking?
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Hugo Lloris has declared that Tottenham’s priority between now and the end of the season will be to achieve a top-four finish, with Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Manchester City merely providing the opportunity to secure an added bonus. The north London club have endured a torrid run of form since the turn of the year, with their chances of winning the league title quickly fading away after a promising start.
Tottenham’s poor on-pitch performances eventually led to the sacking of Jose Mourinho just six days before Sunday’s crunch clash with City.
Ryan Mason has taken charge on a temporary basis and will oversee the match at Wembley, in which Spurs have the opportunity to win their first major trophy since 2008.
The club are also aiming to leapfrog Chelsea and West Ham United into the Premier League’s top four, with just five matches remaining to seal an unlikely Champions League spot.
Spurs currently sit four points off the Blues, who will face West Ham on Saturday afternoon in a pivotal meeting that could have significant ramifications at the business end of the table.
Lloris has admitted that his side are prioritising their top-four battle over Sunday’s final, claiming that a win over Pep Guardiola’s side would fail to overwrite their disappointing league campaign unless it can be paired with Champions League qualification.
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“Listen, there is still a chance of a European place next season in the league,” Lloris told a press conference.
“Before that, we need to win all the games. Then, a trophy is always welcome, especially after many years without a trophy at the club.
“It will not change the feeling of the season because we had so many ups and downs, but we can save the season.”
Interim boss Mason passed his first test in management on Wednesday evening, with Spurs striking late to down Southampton courtesy of Son Heung-min’s last-gasp winner from the penalty spot.
Still only 29, the former England midfielder became the youngest manager in Premier League history upon taking to the dugout and will be hoping to mastermind another win over arguably Europe’s best side in his second match in charge.
Lloris continued, revealing that Mason has approached the role with an entirely different outlook to that of Mourinho, who was slammed for his negative tactics during the latter stages of his tenure.
“You would be surprised,” added Lloris. “He’s ready. He knows exactly what to say to the players.
“He’s got a real philosophy of football. It will surprise you. He’s 29 years old but he shows more maturity than that.
“And confidence. He transmits this good energy to the players.”
It remains to be seen whether Spurs will be successful in their trophy bid, with Mason still sweating over the availability of star man Harry Kane for Sunday’s match.
The England skipper was forced off with yet another ankle injury during the closing stages of the 2-2 draw with Everton earlier this month and has not played since.
Meanwhile, defender Joe Rodon is cup-tied and will not feature, a setback that could allow Eric Dier to keep his place at the heart of Tottenham’s back four.
Ben Davies will be another absentee, while Matt Doherty has been passed fit after he was injured on international duty last month.
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