Tottenham reveal astonishing reaction to capitulation against Chelsea: 'The players got stressed out. We had to calm them down and talk in a nice way'

Manager Tim Sherwood says whole squad is playing for their future, starting tonight in the Europa League against Benfica

Tottenham's players held a frank and at times fraught and furious two-hour meeting in the wake of Saturday's crushing defeat by Chelsea, it has been revealed. After being chastised by their head coach, Tim Sherwood, who publicly branded their performance "gutless", the players conducted their own post-mortem on a capitulation that left the futures of the manager and his squad in jeopardy.

Sherwood was again bluntly critical today, stating that regardless of reputation every player has the remaining two months of the season, starting with the Europa League last-16 first leg against Benfica, to prove they deserve to remain at the club.

The head coach, who said he believed he would still be in charge next season and has begun planning for it, remains unconcerned that his bluntness might put delicate noses out of joint. "I'm a manager not a babysitter," said Sherwood. "A lot of players are playing for their future and they realise that now. They have that chance between now and the end of the season to prove they want to play for a giant club like Tottenham."

It was the midfielder Sandro who revealed what had gone on behind the scenes after the second-half performance against Chelsea, in which Spurs conceded four times. "We had a meeting with the players," he said. "Sometimes one player got a bit more stressed out and we tried to calm him down and talk in a nice way. We spent about two hours that way. Every player had their fair share to say, let's put it this way. We all spoke amongst ourselves.

"Sometimes when you lose games in that way everyone gets cross and we all scream and shout. We have to improve and do our best to get things better. This stems from the reaction to the loss and the way we lost. But we will turn things around."

Benfica is the first of two games at White Hart Lane that will go a distance to deciding Tottenham's season, and with it Sherwood's position – Louis van Gaal has been repeatedly linked with the manager's job following the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas in December.

It is followed by Sunday's north London derby, with Spurs four points off fourth place in the Premier League table and six behind third-placed Arsenal. "If we win this game it will change everything," added Sandro.

Sherwood was taken to task by Gary Lineker on Twitter for his "honest but unwise public condemnation of his own players". Lineker, who has been critical of Sherwood's tactical approach, tweeted "there is no quicker way to lose the confidence and trust of your players than to slag them off publicly".

But Sandro claimed the players had no issue with Sherwood's public dressing-down. "He said the same thing to us as what he said to the press," he explained. "I know the manager is with us and we are with the manager. We need to show more in the next match to tell the manager that we care. We will do that.

"The manager is the manager. He can say more or less what he feels like. If he says something like that it's because he feels some or all of us are not doing their job.

"We always learn with every manager. That is what we have to do. Maybe some managers shout more than others. Villas-Boas, for example, liked to pull you aside and have a nice chat to you to explain things. But other managers are more vocal. As professional football players, we have to work with all managers and do our best for them and for us."

Sherwood insisted his players could – or rather should – handle it. "They know how I am and how I felt about what happened," he said. "They are all men, they appreciate that I am singing it from the heart, not from the script – I'm not an actor, I work on impulse.

"Everyone gets a second chance. I am never ever going to burn bridges with players. They are an asset to the football club. They have an opportunity to respond. It's out there now, they know what's required. It's not about going 1-0 and then going and playing well – it's about in adversity, who wants to roll their sleeves up."

Sherwood added: "It's a level playing field from the kids to the money signings. No one is going to get preferential treatment just because of a price tag. It's about what they are doing on the pitch. I am seeing them every day. I know the DNA of the guys, and I know the ones I can trust and the ones I can't."

Sherwood will be without Michael Dawson for the first leg against a buoyant Benfica side who have not lost since November and sit seven points clear in their domestic league.

Dawson will also miss the Arsenal game, but Christian Eriksen and Mousa Dembélé could feature.

Suggested Topics
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
arts + entsBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
people
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices