DANNY MURPHY: Sorry, but Tottenham’s nice guys will finish last… love him or hate him Jose Mourinho would have given Spurs a better chance of ending their trophy drought and pulling off a shock Carabao Cup final win than Ryan Mason
- Tottenham enter Sunday’s Carabao Cup final weaker without Jose Mourinho
- The north Londoners parted ways with the Portuguese amid a torrid season
- Love him or hate him, Mourinho would have given a stronger chance of victory
- Ryan Mason is surrounded by nice guys in Ledley King and Chris Powell
- For Manchester City, Pep Guardiola must start Phil Foden at Wembley Stadium
Tottenham’s chances of ending their trophy drought have probably decreased because of Jose Mourinho’s sacking. Love him or hate him, you can’t argue with his history in big finals and ability to get results in one-off games like Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Manchester City.
Although there is an argument that certain players feel freer now Mourinho has gone, collectively the group will be less prepared to cause an upset, even though Harry Kane’s participation is probably an even bigger factor.
I’m pleased for Ryan Mason to have the chance to lead out Spurs, at the age of 29. Ryan made his Spurs debut the year after I left the club so I don’t have recollections of him there, though I’ve met him a few times since doing media work and got on well.
Tottenham’s chances of ending their trophy drought have probably decreased this week
Ryan Mason, 29, has taken over the first team following the sacking of Jose Mourinho
What has surprised me is that Tottenham’s new management team of Ryan, Chris Powell and Ledley King are made up of similar characters. They are all nice guys but may have benefited as a group having a more forceful personality like Robbie Keane alongside them.
Ledley was my captain at Spurs but Robbie was the great motivator, inspired those around him and had a great rapport with the fans. That is not me saying Ryan isn’t a good coach.
His first big decision in management is whether to pick Kane after his ankle injury. It didn’t work for Mauricio Pochettino in the Champions League final but that was different because Kane had missed a lot of football and wasn’t match sharp.
However, Mourinho would have made his team better prepared to face Manchester City
The Portuguese knows what it takes to win one-off games and get his sides over the line
That shouldn’t be a problem this time. Kane scored a couple of goals nine days ago, so the only factor is whether his ankle is strong enough. If he says he’s good to go, I’d take his word for it and pick him.
The adrenaline will compensate for any training sessions missed and I don’t think there is any point holding him back for a top-four challenge — there are too many good teams ahead of Spurs in the queue.
Though City are strong favourites and Spurs haven’t lifted silverware for 13 years, one advantage Mason has is that Pep Guardiola may not select his strongest team with Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final against PSG in mind.
I thought Pep made a major statement with the side he selected against Aston Villa in midweek. That looked like his best XI and could be the one to face PSG. Sunday’s line-up might look more like the side he put out in the FA Cup semi-final he lost to Chelsea. It gives Spurs a bit more of a chance.
Moreover, Mason is surrounded by ‘nice guys’ in assistants Ledley King and Chris Powell
The best managers get their team rotations right. I remember Liverpool players scratching their heads whenever Gerard Houllier left out Michael Owen or Steven Gerrard but we ended up winning three trophies in 2001 — the manager paced us right.
When you see how well Phil Foden is playing, putting the fear of God into defenders, he should start in the final, even if you take him off after an hour. He might have won the game for City by then. I know PSG is huge but this is the next one, a final with silverware at stake.
It could be a big afternoon for Raheem Sterling, who’s no longer a guaranteed pick, but should play on Sunday. We have to be careful assessing Sterling because he’s set the bar so high. This season hasn’t been woeful for him, just not at his previous levels.
For Pep Guardiola, he has an important selection decision to make with Europe in mind
In-form youngster Phil Foden must start at Wembley given his recent performances for City
Or maybe like most human beings he has fallen into a comfort zone. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the only exceptions I can think of. Maybe being on the bench will benefit Raheem in the longer term. But a month ago I was 100 per cent sure Sterling would be in the England team for the Euros. Now, the way Foden and Marcus Rashford played in their last games, he can’t take anything for granted.
It will be great to have fans inside Wembley for a final again. I wouldn’t advise protests against the European Super League, as much as I sympathise with that view.
The players are blameless for this horrendous idea and showed their disdain. For a final at Wembley, supporters should want to get their team over the line. Don’t let greedy owners spoil the event.