Tottenham acting head coach Ryan Mason has defended Daniel Levy and insisted the under-fire chairman has been let down by other people.
Levy has faced growing criticism this season and repeatedly had his name chanted at games with a section of supporters eager for the long-serving board member to depart.
Eighth-placed Spurs are currently searching for a new permanent head coach and managing director of football while they could find themselves not in Europe for the first time since the 2009-10 season.
Meanwhile, record goalscorer Harry Kane is about to enter the final year of his contract, but Mason leapt to the defence of Levy before the last match of the club’s season at relegation-threatened Leeds on Sunday.
He said: “It hurts him, it hurts everyone committed to this club and everyone who really cares and wants this club to be successful.
“One thing I will say is he’s spent money, he’s tried and I just think ultimately he has probably been let down by other people but that’s football.
“That happens and hopefully we can get things right quickly, make good decisions and it can turn around.”
Optimism was rife at the beginning of the campaign, but Spurs have lost 14 times in the Premier League, conceded 62 top-flight goals – their worst against tally since the 2002-03 term – and seen their trophy drought extend into a 15th season.
Mason pulled no punches when asked about positives, adding: “I think the biggest positive will be the future.
“And if we’re clever and if we do it right, then I think we’ll look back on this season and say it was tough, disappointing but ultimately it made us realise what we want to be.
“It made us realise who we are, what our history and DNA probably suggests we are, what our fans want, what our fans demand and hopefully there is a connection very soon where we look back and say disappointing season, absolutely yes, but it helped us.”
It was just over two months ago when Antonio Conte had his post-match outburst at Southampton and accused his own “selfish players” of not being a team or wanting to play under pressure.
Spurs have won only twice during the ensuing nine matches but Mason rejected any notion his old boss was right given the games in hand Newcastle, Liverpool and Brighton held over a club that were fourth at the start of April.
“We haven’t won an away game since January, conceded 60+ goals this season so this isn’t something that has just happened in recent weeks,” ex-Tottenham midfielder Mason stated.
“Obviously we were left in a position in the league table that was probably false, in terms of other teams had games in hand.
“When you level them out, I think the first game we had against Man United (on April 27) we might have been seventh in the table so there were a lot of things that were probably false.
“One thing I will say is I respect everyone that I have worked with and I have learnt off a lot of people, but at the same time I am my own person and believe how not only this club, but how any football club I am at in the future, should work and operate.”
Mason will have a decision to make on his own future after the clash at Elland Road with the 31-year-old firmly of the belief he is ready for management following this latest caretaker spell.
He has consistently referenced the importance of “committed people” being at the club next season in recent weeks and hinted unspecified players could miss the trip to Leeds if they are not motivated to secure Tottenham a spot in the Europa Conference League with a seventh-placed finish.
“I am looking forward to it. I hope my players are looking forward to it too,” Mason said.
“I have made it very clear that if anyone isn’t up for the fight and doesn’t want to play in this type of game, then it is probably best we don’t play with them.
“I just think going forward that (commitment) is really important. That is probably the first thing we need to address.
“Whether it’s a cleaner, groundsman, members of staff, players here, coaches here, they need to be committed to this football club.
“It’s an honour to work here. I’ve played here, I felt that pride whenever I put on the shirt and for anyone who’s lucky enough to represent us next season, first of all they need to be committed to the football club.”