Ryan Mason will look to continue his 100% Premier league managerial record tomorrow when Tottenham Hotspur travel to Yorkshire to face Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United. Ahead of that match, Mason again held a press conference with journalists, where he discussed the re-emergence of Dele and hinted at a reason for the absence of Tanguy Ndombele in recent games.
Mason described Dele as “100% committed” since he assumed the position of interim manager, implying that he’s had a completely fresh start and new opportunity since the departure of Jose Mourinho two and a half weeks ago.
“I can only take Dele and the rest of the players from what I’ve seen in the last two weeks and I said last week that Dele trained himself into the team last weekend and he did do that. Whatever has happened in the past has to remain in the past with Dele. As footballers, as people involved in football, and I think in life as well, you have to live in the moment and live in the here and now. Dele along with the rest of the group have shown me that they want to work, they want to compete and it has been a good environment to work in, so Dele has been excellent.
“I think it was clear to see that he was 100% committed. He helped us regain a lot of second balls, he ran a lot and opened a lot of space for the other attacking players. Most importantly he had a lot of energy and he felt good, which was pleasing. Like I said all along, there are so many players competing for these positions.
“There’s real competition and I think we’ve seen that this week in training. Everyone has had the right mentality and it’s difficult to select a starting XI because there’s so much quality.”
Mason may have also obliquely answered the question as to why we have not seen Tanguy Ndombele play for Tottenham since Mason’s first match in charge against Southampton, suggesting that both Ndombele and Lucas have been dealing with injuries.
“So Lucas picked up a knock in the cup final. It was just a knock, a boney thing and it just needed a couple of days to settle down. Then also Tanguy had a bit of a muscle problem, so he only trained the day before the game, but they’ve trained all week now. They’ve had no problems. No one has had any problems this week apart from Ben [Davies], who hasn’t trained so that was the only concern last week but this week there’s been no problems at all.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll see Ndombele in the starting XI against Leeds tomorrow, but it’s a good sign if you want to believe that Mason doesn’t simply think that Ndombele’s not good enough.
Tottenham’s match against Leeds United kicks off at 12:30 p.m. BST, 7:30 a.m. ET and will be televised on BT Sport 1 and NBCSN.