independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Slow start frustrates Sherwood

Tim Sherwood's Tottenham started slowly but nevertheless beat Everton to go fifth

Head coach Tim Sherwood was unhappy to see Tottenham make another slow start but pleased by the way they kicked on to secure a win that left Everton counterpart Roberto Martinez understandably frustrated.

Fourth-placed Liverpool's emphatic defeat of Arsenal on Saturday increased the importance of this afternoon's encounter at White Hart Lane, which looked to only be going one way as the visitors came flying out the blocks.

However, Tottenham somehow managed to ride the first-half storm and took full advantage, sneaking an important 1-0 win thanks to Emmanuel Adebayor's decisive strike.

Sherwood was pleased by the way the players responded to his half-time pep talk, but knows his side cannot afford to continue making the slow starts that have become all too regular of late.

"I keep finding myself coming in here and saying the same thing," he said. "We started slow again and we have got to find out the reason why.

"Hugo Lloris has kept us in the game again early on and made some great saves, one especially.

"We have got to address it because we started slowly against Man City and we were out of the game. It could easily have happened again today.

"But we managed to sit them down, have a little chat and decided that we needed to put some more pressure on them higher up the field which was the game plan originally.

"We were nice and compact in the middle of the park but we were far too deep and if you give them space, they have good players who will open you up and that is what they did in the first half.

"So in the second half we stepped into them a little bit, made them play quicker and they gave us the ball back.

"They never had a shot at goal in the second half and we looked like we were going to score."

While the manner of victory left as many questions as answers, the result means Spurs jump above the visitors into fifth to keep the pressure on Liverpool.

"We keep looking at the top-four chase every weekend, thinking teams are going to drop points but they are not doing that," Sherwood said.

"Fourth place will be determined by how many points we pick up from these teams in and around you so we made a good start of that today.

"We beat Man United at Old Trafford and won today so its not too bad."

Next up for Spurs is a trip to Newcastle on Wednesday, while Everton boss Martinez has to prepare for Crystal Palace wondering how they left White Hart Lane without anything to show for their endeavours.

"I think we started the game really, really well," the Everton boss said.

"My concern before the game was being able to come to White Hart Lane and be ourselves, control the game and impose ourselves on the opposition and we did that.

"It is fair to say at times in football you are better to be lucky than good and today we played the good role, not the lucky one.

"But I thought from our point of view the only criticism about the first-half performance is that you need to hit the back of the net with the chances we had.

"I thought Lloris was outstanding in two actions, but then we had three very, very good opportunities that on another day we would have scored that important first goal.

"In the second half, without reaching our real highs, I thought we restricted Spurs to very little.

"If you were to tell me Spurs would have one shot on target before the game, I would have taken that.

"Looking at the performance, it is disappointing because we didn't get the result but if we can take this performance into the next 13 games we're going to get a lot of points. You hope football is not going to be that harsh on us again."

The defeat was made even harder to swallow for Everton as they were denied what appeared to be a clear stoppage-time penalty after substitute Etienne Capoue clumsily took down Seamus Coleman.

"I haven't seen the replay but it looked a very sloppy incident," Martinez said.

"I think it was a careless challenge. He tries to win the ball and didn't at all.

"I'm not sure if there was enough contact for a penalty, but I've seen them given.

"You need a little bit of luck and it was one of those days for us."

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