With the scores level 0-0 at Wembley after half an hour, there was a brief moment that showed the size of the task at hand for Ryan Mason. As he watched on from the touchline, a graphic during Sky Sports’ broadcast of the Carabao Cup final flashed across the screen.
It was a managerial head-to-head… Pep Guardiola, 694 games, 517 wins, 24 major trophies.
In the opposite dug-out was Mason, two games, one win, zero trophies of course.
Unfortunately for the Spurs interim boss, that did not change come full-time but the graphic seemed brutal, needless and harsh.
Mason had been employed by Daniel Levy without pressure and with the freedom to go and potentially make something of Spurs’ season.
Furthermore, he is one of few managers to actually beat City this season.
His old side’s 2-0 win over the Premier League champions-elect last November was vintage Mourinho. A masterclass in fact.
Tottenham had just 33 percent possession that day and managed two shots on target. Both of which went in.
City had a staggering 22 shots at Tottenham’s goal but couldn’t find the breakthrough.
There was a similar level of dominance today at Wembley, despite City winning by just one goal.
They registered 21 shots to Tottenham’s two and had 63 percent of the ball.
The was a ridiculously one-sided final. Spurs never looked like scoring.
In fairness, much of that was due to the quality of City in possession and the fact Harry Kane was playing with one ankle.
Yet right from the get-go and even perhaps the build-up following the win over Southampton, nobody really gave Spurs a chance.
It was a free hit as such but it only became that following the sacking of Mourinho.
When he was at the helm, it very much seemed like a decisive game in regards to his future. That was taken away from him.
As he was harassed by press outside his Battersea home on Monday night, Mourinho was asked whether he felt he deserved the chance to manage Spurs in the final. He remained silent but his face told the story.
Although several members of the Spurs dressing room had grown tired of Mourinho, a number of players including Kane, Heung-min Son, Eric Dier, Lucas Moura and Hugo Lloris were still in his corner.
Levy had every right to pull the trigger on Mourinho. It was never going to work out.
But nobody can argue that Spurs had a better chance of winning this final with Mourinho at the helm.
We may never know the ins and outs of his sacking, but on this occasion, it’s fair to state that Levy got it wrong.