Monday 22 January 2018

Sherwood laments lack of leaders in Spurs' ranks

Tottenham 2 Crystal Palace 0

Jermain Defoe of Tottenham Hotspur scores his goal for Tottenham Hotspur against Crystal Palace
Jermain Defoe of Tottenham Hotspur scores his goal for Tottenham Hotspur against Crystal Palace

Gerry Cox

Tim Sherwood was no shrinking violet as a player, and he wants to see more of his Tottenham players show the same sort of leadership qualities as they adapt to life after the highly regimented regime of Andre Villas-Boas.

Sherwood was captain of Blackburn Rovers when they won the Premier League in 1995 with strong characters such as Alan Shearer, Chris Sutton and Colin Hendry in the side.

After seeing a Jekyll-and-Hyde performance eventually secure Spurs their fourth victory in five league games under him, he called for more leaders on the pitch.

Spurs were as poor as Crystal Palace were good in the first half, and the visitors would have been deservedly ahead if Jason Puncheon had not sent his eighth-minute penalty into the upper tiers.

Strong words at half-time brought the desired response from Tottenham, with well-taken goals from Christian Eriksen and Jermain Defoe enough to move Spurs temporarily into fifth, and push Palace to the bottom of the table.

"Palace were a lot more adventurous than we expected, but it's all about character," Sherwood said. "When it is not going well, you need the ability to turn that around. It's good that we got the three points, but there were negatives there we can learn from. If you start like that against better sides you could be punished.


"There have been very few times we have questioned it, but we did at half-time. I am not saying they haven't got character, I know it is in there, but they were looking around at each other too much, instead of someone saying, 'I'm the boss, you come in here, I'm pulling you around', which is what they need to draw the best from individuals."

Sherwood is not afraid to ruffle feathers. He has dropped £9m France international Etienne Capoue, preferring in midfield his compatriot Nabil Bentaleb. Sherwood knows the 19-year-old from his former role in charge of Tottenham's development squad, and the youngster has responded well. He was one of the few bright spot for Spurs in the first half, hitting the woodwork from 20 yards.

"It was not a great surprise to be called up," he said. "I was getting ready for a long time, waiting for a chance. The gaffer knows me better than anyone else in football, he trusted me and put me in."

Palace, meanwhile, know that if they can reproduce their first-half performance regularly they will get out of trouble.

Yannick Bolasie said: "We're not discouraged. The next game is at home to Stoke, Tony Pulis' old side, and the gaffer is fired up for it and so will the boys be too." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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