Saturday 25 November 2017

Fist-pumping Sherwood enjoys one final flourish

Tottenham 3 Aston Villa 0

Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane, (left) and Aston Villa's Matthew Lowton battles for possession of the ball during the Barclays Premier League match at White Hart Lane, London
Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane, (left) and Aston Villa's Matthew Lowton battles for possession of the ball during the Barclays Premier League match at White Hart Lane, London
Tottenham Hotspur's Christian Eriksen (centre) battles for possession of the ball with Aston Villa's Jordan Bowery, (right) and Aston Villa's Ashley Westwood, (left) during the Barclays Premier League match at White Hart Lane, London
Tottenham Hotspur's Emmanuel Adebayor sends Aston Villa's Brad Guzan the wrong way as he scores from the penalty spot during the Barclays Premier League match at White Hart Lane, London
Aston Villa's Brad Guzan is treated on the pitch by the physio's after a collision during the Barclays Premier League match at White Hart Lane, London
Tottenham Hotspur manager Tim Sherwood smiles during the match during the Barclays Premier League match at White Hart Lane, London

Jim White

After Tottenham had won their last home game at a canter, the public address announcer explained that the team would undertake a lap of honour.

"And while we're waiting," he said, as the players regrouped in the dressing-room, "let's look back on our season."

One of the home fans responded with a noisy "no", which echoed round the rapidly emptying White Hart Lane stadium.

It has been that kind of campaign for Spurs – one which does not profit from revisiting.

In the programme, chairman Daniel Levy wrote that "our sense of falling short is felt by all – and is based on knowing we have not performed at a level we should have done".

His seasonal review made no mention of the coach in charge, Tim Sherwood. Not even a thank you.

For the man in the dugout, his Tottenham future apparently bleak, this, then, was opportunity to go out on a high. He was smiling throughout, joking with the crowd behind him.

"I have to have a meeting with the chairman and see what future holds," Sherwood said. "I've enjoyed it, it's been great. If it is the last time, life goes on. There were no tears shed. If it's not here, then it will be somewhere else."

Sherwood's fun finale began in the 14th minute. A neat passing move saw Paulinho striding through a limp Villa defence. The Brazilian's first shot was saved by Brad Guzan, but, with the Villa backline remaining static, he followed up to poke home the rebound.

The goal inspired a wonderfully over-the-top, fist-pumping celebration from Sherwood, as if he had just steered Tottenham to victory in the FA Cup final rather than leave any successor with the dubious legacy of Europa League qualification.

And he was punching the air again in the 35th minute when Danny Rose floated the ball across the area and it hit Nathan Baker to wrong-foot Guzan.

For Villa chairman Randy Lerner, who is actively seeking to sell the club, this was not a helpful advertisement. Fabien Delph apart, Villa were abject.

Villa fans had arrived in north London almost to a man in fancy dress. Thus it was, as Spurs' second goal was struck, Little Bo Peep and her several sheep started chanting: "You're not special, we lose every week."

Barely a minute later, Sandro's shot smacked against Gabriel Agbonlahor's elbow in the penalty area and Emmanuel Adebayor struck the resulting spot kick straight down the middle of the goal. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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