Players know the script - Sherwood
Published 06/04/2014 | 23:47
Tim Sherwood will return to the Tottenham dugout when Sunderland visit on Monday - a decision the head coach insists is nothing to do with the fans' irritation at him watching recent matches from the stands.
Following a touchline tete-a-tete with Benfica coach Jorge Jesus, the Spurs boss has preferred to watch matches from the stands, claiming it is for the good of the team.
However, a section of Tottenham fans audibly disagreed with that last weekend, chanting "where's our manager?" during the 4-0 trouncing at Liverpool.
Those supporters will no doubt be pleased to hear he will be back in the dugout on Monday, although he continues to defend his decision to watch from the directors' box.
"I'll be on the touchline on Monday - I'll be knocking out as many people as I can," Sherwood said with a smile.
"I've had a lot of time to prepare this week. If they don't know what it's all about this week, then they ain't going to know.
"When you're playing against Liverpool and teams like that, I feel there was a technical mismatch between the two teams.
"We have to try to worry about them and they might need some adjusting during the game - they certainly did after 20 minutes.
"There was nothing we could do to turn it around, unfortunately.
"I can learn more about my players sitting up top for the future than going down there to the touchline.
"I would've had to have no effect on that game. Against teams we've got left to play, the players know the script now.
"We will play the same way between now and the end of the season and it's up to them to try to entertain.
"I'll be there at the forefront with them and hopefully we can get a positive result together."
Monday certainly looks a decent opportunity for Tottenham to put a smile back on their fans' faces, although Sherwood is wary of the threat posed by Sunderland.
Managed by former Spurs team-mate Gus Poyet, the Black Cats are in relegation trouble and need positive results quickly.
"If their spirit can mirror their manager, then they will certainly be going until they have no breath left in them," Sherwood said.
"That gives them a real opportunity. They haven't been fantastic - their results have suggested that.
"But we really have to worry about ourselves. It is all about pride now and getting the maximum points possible between now and the end of the season.
"We've got to play with the shackles off. We are not coming up against a technical mismatch now, against teams in the top four.
"We're playing against teams who are in and around mid-table or below that, so we really have to play with a lot of freedom and try to entertain these great fans we have."
Sherwood will be able to call upon top scorer Emmanuel Adebayor against Sunderland after a spell on the sidelines, while Vlad Chiriches and Paulinho are also back in contention.
However, Kyle Walker, Etienne Capoue and Erik Lamela remain unavailable and are joined in the sidelines by Roberto Soldado and Jan Vertonghen after they were injured in the defeat at Anfield.
Poyet admits Sunderland are going to have to do something unexpected to get themselves out of relegation trouble.
The Black Cats head for Tottenham on Monday night lying seven points adrift of safety and knowing they will need to win at least three of their remaining eight games if they are to stand any chance of remaining a Barclays Premier League club.
Given the fact that they have only six league wins to their name to date this season, and that their four away fixtures take them to Spurs, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United, that may be a tall order.
However, Poyet knows from experience that strange things happen as seasons draw to a close, and he is hoping that will be the case for his struggling team.
Asked if they may have to do something unexpected to survive, Poyet said: "Yes, yes - but I think it is possible.
"I remember clubs in the past - I am not going to talk about names - they have played five or six games at the end of the season against teams who were playing for nothing and they won four or five.
"People say it's incredible, a miracle, but it depends what the there teams put on the pitch and what you do. But it can happen.
"I suppose I would try as a professional not to alter the end of the season, but if a team goes down early and they make seven changes to try things for the following year, I wouldn't blame them because they are trying for themselves.
"Now that can affect the result of that game and then everybody is blaming somebody else. But a the end of the day, you have got 38 games, it's you.
"You cannot blame the rest for what they do because it happens during the season when someone is playing in the Champions League and chooses to make five changes in midweek.
"Nobody remembers those, they only remember the last three or four when people are already out of any possibility."
Poyet has no fresh injury concerns. T he Uruguayan's biggest problem will be to find the best XI to attempt to return from White Hart Lane with something to show for their efforts, after admitting he may have made a mistake in starting Monday's 2-1 home defeat by West Ham with leading scorer Adam Johnson sitting on the bench.