Monday 18 November 2019

Michael Owen: Sherwood’s criticism of players a huge risk

Tottenham Hotspur's manager Tim Sherwood
Tottenham Hotspur's manager Tim Sherwood

Michael Owen has said that while Tim Sherwood’s harsh comments about his players will be well received by fans, it is a big gamble in the changing room.

The Tottenham manager described the performance in the heavy defeat against Chelsea as “gutless” and suggested some players were playing for their future after another callow performance against one of the top four sides.

They followed this up midweek with another defeat, this time at the hands of Benfica in the Europa League, hardly the ideal preparation for Sunday’s North London derby.

Former Liverpool and Man United player Owen has said that it is a big risk and one Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger would never take.

“I am not sure Sherwood’s remarks were simply an emotional reaction following a disappointing defeat at Chelsea,” he said in his Daily Telegraph column.

“It struck me he thought criticising members of his squad was a gamble worth taking because he does not rate some of the players he inherited and wants to send a message about recruiting replacements this summer.”

“I suspect he was directing comments to his chairman, Daniel Levy, as much as the dressing room and the supporters.”

“That is why, as a weapon of man-management, public criticism of your own employees tends to be a rather blunt one, not just in football but any industry. Everyone prefers to be spoken about favourably, or least criticised in private.”

He added that such tactics would not be employed by some of the top managers in the game.

“Rarely, if ever, do the greatest managers do this. Arsène Wenger never does it and I cannot recall Sir Alex Ferguson berating his players in the press.”

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