Tim Sherwood column: Liverpool wisely sorted their transfers early and Fabregas is a smart buy by Chelsea but Spurs need to cut numbers

In his exclusive column for The Independent, Tim Sherwood looks ahead to the new season

The season starts on Saturday and already the Premier League has lost its first manager, in Tony Pulis. He did a brilliant job at Crystal Palace last season but modern management encompasses a lot more than just what happens on the pitch. I know that from my own experience.

I have no knowledge of what happened but if managers were only judged by what happened on the pitch I would like to think I would still be at Tottenham Hotspur. It will be interesting to see what details emerge about Tony and Palace’s decision to part company. All I can say from the perspective of a manager is that he did a wonderful job. He has the admiration of the coaching fraternity.

I have spent some of my summer working on my Uefa Pro Licence on the course run by the Welsh Football Association in Cardiff. It has been rewarding going back to studying. It wasn’t that long ago that I was speaking to the previous group on the course about my experiences at Tottenham Hotspur, when I was still in the job.

Also working for the qualification on this current course are Les Ferdinand, Sol Campbell, Patrick Vieira and Craig Bellamy. We could put together a decent five-a-side team if called upon.

Tony Pulis left Crystal Palace on the eve of the season Tony Pulis left Crystal Palace on the eve of the season The first day of the campaign is an exciting time for a manager when everything seems possible. They will have put the hard work in over pre-season, and the happiest among them will be those who have done most of their transfer business by the time it all kicks off. I understand why clubs wait until the last day of the transfer window to do their business. From a football point of view, though, it makes life difficult.

In that respect I give great credit to Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers, who have not messed about, either in selling Luis Suarez or in bringing in their new players. I like the look of Lazar Markovic, who we faced at Spurs in the Europa League when he was playing for Benfica last season. Liverpool did not wait until the last day of the window to try to wring the last penny out of the Suarez deal. They got it done, started investing the money and now have most of their squad in place.

It means that Brendan will have had a chance to work with his players extensively in pre-season, as much as you can in a World Cup year. They will have got to know him and his methods as well.

I would have tried to sign Adam Lallana if I had been given another season at Spurs. I like the fact he is one of only a few modern players in his position who is prepared to run without the ball and get himself in positions where he causes opponents big problems. Too often these days you see players who demand the ball to feet all the time and are not prepared to make those forward runs to give others the option to pick them out.

 

Lallana has great energy and he will get goals. I accept that Liverpool may need another striker to be title contenders but when you look at the side that did so well last season, all those young players, like Raheem Sterling, are a year older and more experienced. Brendan has established himself as a manager who gives young players a chance. Were I the father of a promising teenage player, I would be looking at which managers are prepared to do that.

The 3-5-2 debate is an interesting element to the new season with Manchester United under Louis Van Gaal set to play that way this year. My problem with the formation is that unless you have players who are confident and able to do it, the back three can quickly become a back five. You have to be bold to push the wing-backs on. The three centre-backs have to be confident enough to defend on their own.

Not every player can cope with that. I regard it as a very attacking system and players do tend to revert to what they know. A team can have the most talented coach, but unless he has the players in his team who can play that way, it will be difficult for them to do it successfully.

 

Manchester City are the defending champions and I don’t look any further than them or Chelsea for the title. I felt that City won the title last year in second gear. They seemed to blow up a bit in the second half of last season, having been ridiculously good early on. If they play as well as they can, they could be out on their own and clear of the rest come April. Vincent Kompany and Yaya Touré are key to City. They have to keep them fit.

As for Chelsea, some people seem to have forgotten what a good player their new signing Cesc Fabregas is. He has been criticised for not holding down a place in the Barcelona side. Look at who he was up against there. And I have always felt that even as a substitute he has been capable of coming on and affecting games. He scores goals, he makes things happen. He is a winner.

Having won the FA Cup, Arsenal have got over one big hurdle. I like Calum Chambers, their signing from Southampton. He reminds me of a young Gary Cahill. Earlier in his career, Gary often played full-back if he was needed there. Like Gary, Chambers is naturally very, very powerful and he has that athleticism that allows him to deal with difficult situations.

Manchester City defend their Premier League title Manchester City defend their Premier League title  As for my former club Spurs, the criticism has been that they have not bought enough yet. Fair enough, but my concern would be they have not trimmed the size of the squad by selling players. Once Mauricio Pochettino has to start naming his teams for match day he is going to find it very hard to keep all of them happy.

Someone reminded me of what Pochettino said when Southampton lost to my Spurs team in October. Apparently, he said that while Southampton were a “young team”, Spurs were “equipped to win the Premier League”. Given that he has not had to sell any big players this summer, in the way that the club lost Gareth Bale a year ago, and the seven new signings have had a year to settle, I can only presume he believes that Spurs can win the title this season too.

Another big challenge at Spurs will be cutting out individual errors. They made 21 errors that led to goals last season; the next highest was Liverpool on 11. It cost the club badly. Like all 20 teams in the Premier League, the next three days will be an indicator of where they stand. The best time to reshape a squad is not in the last two weeks of August.

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
i100
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Voices
Don’t try this at home: DIY has now fallen out of favour
voicesNick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again