Tim Sherwood looks to strike right balance at Spurs

Interim manager is very much the realist about the balance between entertainment and results

As Tottenham laboured to a 1-1 draw at home to West Bromwich Albion on Boxing Day, there were times when they looked like the Spurs of old; "old" in this context being the long spell starting in the mid-Nineties when they sat frustrated in the middle of the table while a man called Wenger arrived at the other North London club, who immediately started looking down on them from a great height.

After 1996, Spurs did not finish in the top eight until Martin Jol brought them two successive fifth places in 2006 and '07. Harry Redknapp and Andre Villas-Boas, like Jol, found that fourth and fifth did not satisfy the demands of the chairman Daniel Levy.

Now the team are in the hands of a battery of coaches including former players Tim Sherwood, Steffen Freund and Les Ferdinand, all of whom played in the side during that unsuccessful period before leaving at almost exactly the same time in 2003. So at least the new management team will know all about under-achieving Spurs sides and how they are perceived in the boardroom and the stands.

Taking over in the "holiday" period is far from ideal. Amid a run of eight games in little more than three weeks, continuing at home to Stoke City today, he said: "It's like a whirlwind, the games are coming thick and fast. I haven't had time to breathe really. You end up with six players training or five [with the others having to be rested]. It's been difficult. But I've been a fan, I don't want to start making excuses."

Injuries come into that category, and half a dozen players are unavailable. Paulinho and possibly Aaron Lennon return but Kyle Walker is suspended and Jermain Defoe is doubtful. Defoe's absence was keenly felt against Albion when Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado were failing to break through a three-man central defence, and the full-backs, Walker and Danny Rose, were the best players. Spurs managed only three shots on target, one of which was Christian Eriksen's perfect free-kick in off the crossbar.

It would be good if the gifted Eriksen could find a regular place but Sherwood has to make the decision that Villas-Boas never could about which is the best midfield combination. The new man wants to use two strikers and two wide players, leaving room for only two in central midfield, which has allowed Southampton and West Bromwich plenty of space to work in his two League games to date.

Both have been open spectacles of the type Tottenham fans traditionally prefer to the more cagey Villas-Boas version, but Sherwood is very much the realist about the balance between entertainment and results. "I know that the pressure is on to be getting results," he said. "That is what we need to work towards. The target is to win as many games as you possibly can."

A victory today would give him a positive record going into daunting games at Manchester United (Wednesday) and Arsenal (Saturday in the FA Cup). Spurs' approach to those fixtures will be significant – and significantly different to that of Chelsea, who played for a draw at both venues.

Sherwood said that when he was interviewed for the job by Levy, "He looked at the way I wanted to play and what vision I saw, and I was as honest as I can. It was the fact that this is the way I see the game going forward. I have had a whole number of very experienced, successful managers. I have taken little bits from all of them, some how to do it and some how not to do it.

"I won the championship at Blackburn so Kenny Dalglish was a big influence on me, George Graham when he managed here, Roy Hodgson."

Hodgson blamed Sherwood, his captain, for getting him the sack at Blackburn. He fell out too with Glenn Hoddle at Spurs and, whether or not he has mellowed after working with younger players in the Tottenham Academy, Sherwood gives the impression of not shying away from confrontation with anyone.

The occasional one-liner will also keep the media amused, such as his Mourinho-like response to a suggestion that the board have shown great faith in him as a rookie manager: "Yes. I congratulate them for it."

David Pleat, the director of football throughout Sherwood's playing time at the club, says: "He is quite opinionated and will have to temper his views, but he will not be a 'yes' man. He is ambitious and a leader. He is a hard-working guy. He has developed and helped develop some good players that have emerged this season. Every manager is a risk. There are no messiahs out there. I think Tim will do OK."

Tottenham Hotspur v Stoke City kicks off at 4pm today

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
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

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition