Tottenham Hotspur 3 Southampton 2: Tim Sherwood claims he has not given up on Spurs qualifying for the Champions League

Tottenham battled back from 2-0 down to win at White Hart Lane

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The Independent Football

Tim Sherwood still holds some hope for Champions League qualification after Spurs’ stoppage time defeat of Southampton on Sunday. Tottenham are six points behind Arsenal, and have played one more game, but Sherwood promised they will push Arsenal as hard as they can over the final weeks of the season.

“We will try and do as best we can,” Sherwood said afterwards. “I think we are a point behind where we were last year, when we pushed Arsenal really close so who knows what could happen. It is squeaky bum time, time for the men to stand up and get as many points as we can.”

Sherwood must be more confident of his players showing character over the run-in after they overturned a 2-0 deficit, thanks in part to a stern half-time talk. “I can’t tell you everything [I said],” Sherwood joked afterwards.  “It wasn’t pretty. I'm not an actor, I do it on impulse. It wasn't ranting and raving, it was considered. It was measured, what I had to say to them.” Christian Eriksen certainly felt its effect. “We got a little speech at half-time,” he said afterwards, “and in the second half we were new guys.”

That second half performance showcased a strength that Sherwood doubted they had after their 4-0 defeat at Chelsea. “They haven’t turned it in, have they? You have to admit that against Arsenal we deserved to win the game or at least a point. Then we go away against all odds, against Benfica, and we’re gutted that we haven’t progressed. We should have done but we didn’t. So we’ve took a couple of knocks in the privates and we’ve come back.”

Sherwood said that Kyle Naughton typified the approach he wants from his players, recovering from two bad first-half mistakes to perform far better in the second half. “I want to give credit to Kyle Naughton today, and I've told him in there. Anyone can make mistakes, and it was obvious he made two. But what everyone can't do is stand tall and put themselves on offer in the second half.” 

“Too often, not only at Tottenham, but all around the country, players go hiding. They want to go off. He didn't want to come off, he wanted to go out and put that right. And he did that in the second half. I give him massive credit for that. He'll only grow for that. I played in lots of games that were disasters. You only learn from playing in that, and become stronger for the next time. That's the character I'm looking for, that's what I want to see. I want people who want to roll their sleeves up and have a go. And he typified what I want from my players.”

Premier League Sunday - as it happened

Mauricio Pochettino insisted that Southampton played well and said that the referee should have disallowed both goals, the first after a foul by Nacer Chadli on Dejan Lovren, the second after Roberto Soldado tangled with Lovren again.

“I thought it was a clear foul [for the first goal], and then Eriksen equalised very early in the second half after another foul. When you receive a heavy blow like that it changes the dynamic of the game, and that’s what happened today.”

"We made mistakes. It’s quite difficult to accept that we made them and we need to improve, especially individual. It’s part of football to want to improve. Mathematically it’s still possible to get into Europe. But we have to see if the reality of the team is ready for Europe.”