By Martyn Herman
LONDON - Tottenham Hotspur's interim head coach Ryan Mason admitted they are four or five years behind Manchester City after his hopes of ending the club's trophy drought were ruined in a League Cup final defeat by Pep Guardiola's dominant side on Sunday.
Aymeric Laporte's late goal sealed a 1-0 win for City to leave Spurs still waiting for their first silverware since 2008.
City were far the better team and could have had the game won twice over before halftime had they converted a few of the many chances they created at will against a poor Tottenham side who managed only two goal attempts to their opponents' 21.
"I think City are probably four or five years ahead of us," said former Spurs midfielder Mason, who has taken over for the rest of the season after Jose Mourinho was sacked on Monday.
"In terms of they have had a manager for such a long time and they have worked a certain way for such a long time.
"Going forward, my idea and I am sure everyone's idea at Tottenham, is to be brave and try to dominate games like they do. It is a process. It takes time."
Mason, 29, is a managerial rookie having been promoted from the London club's youth development department.
It is extremely unlikely that he will be handed the responsibility of reviving the fortunes of a club that finished eight points above City in second place in the Premier League in 2016-17 - Guardiola's first season at City.
But Mason said the priority now was trying to make sure Tottenham qualify for Europe next season.
They are seventh in the Premier League with five games left -- five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea who are in the Champions League qualifying spots.
"I think leading up to this game, our mind and our focus was on today," Mason said.
"Now we have to get over this and we have to accept it. We've got a massive week. A really big game next weekend (at home to Sheffield United). Every Premier League game we're going to play in is going to be a big game."