Tottenham 3 Aston Villa 0 match report: Tim Sherwood puts a fan in hot seat – but who will be there next season?
It is expected to be the manager's last game in charge of Spurs
White Hart Lane
Sunday 11 May 2014
For Tim Sherwood and Paul Lambert this has been a season that has tried and tested them, and it may yet prove one that has finished them. The chant of “you’re getting sacked in the morning” that rang out from the visiting supporters during the first half could have been aimed at either dugout. Both managers will meet their employers this week and both could be gone by the end of it.
Sherwood grinned when the chant began as his side strolled to one of their easiest wins of the season, one that secures them sixth place. He turned to the Tottenham fans behind his dugout, laughed and said: “Bit harsh when you’re 3-0 up.”
There were plenty of smiles from the Spurs manager on Sunday. He insists he has enjoyed his time in charge and at one point invited a supporter from the crowd – one who has harangued him persistently over the months – into the manager’s seat, handing him his infamous gilet in the process.
“We’ve got the police looking for him because he’s nicked the gilet!” joked Sherwood. The coat is gone and Sherwood seems certain to follow it out of White Hart Lane. But he will go proudly, convinced of his abilities.
He claimed if his win record – “it’s 59 per cent” – was spread over the season, Tottenham would have qualified for the Champions League. That is not correct but since he took over only Liverpool and Manchester City have scored more goals.
“I have to have a meeting with the chairman and see what the future holds,” said Sherwood, who followed his squad around the pitch for the traditional lap of honour. Was he saying so long to a club he has served as player, coach and manager?
“No, not really,” he said. “If it is, life goes on. There were no tears. This club means a lot to me but if I’m not to continue here as manager I’ll be somewhere else. A quick decision would make sense.”
Chairman Daniel Levy wrote in his programme notes of the club “falling short”. It was not a vote of confidence in his manager, or soon-to-be former manager. As a farewell performance this was pretty much in keeping with Sherwood’s tenure – too good for those below them, not good enough to challenge those above.
Paulinho darted through Villa’s accommodating defence to open the scoring. Sharp passing from three of four Tottenham midfielders – Sandro was the absentee – created the opening. Paulinho’s first shot was saved by Brad Guzan, but he rolled in the rebound.
The American had already made two saves but a heavy afternoon’s workload was only just beginning. His side were lucky he did not have to pick the ball out of the net more than three times by half-time. Fabian Delph made an excellent tackle to deny Harry Kane when the young striker was through on goal and then Guzan saved a Michael Dawson header.
The second goal arrived with an element of good fortune. Danny Rose had time to pass to himself inside Villa’s box before hitting a cross that struck Emmanuel Adebayor and then Nathan Baker to fly past Guzan. The goalkeeper had even less chance with Adebayor’s penalty two minutes later after Gabriel Agbonlahor turned his back on a Sandro shot and the ball struck his arm.
The visitors were better in the second half – everything’s relative – helped by Tottenham, with their day’s job done, struggling to keep their attention on the opposition rather than holiday villas. The Villa fans, many in fancy dress – including Bo Peep, a sheep and several traffic cones – maintained their buoyancy as their team sunk.
Delph’s shot nine minutes from the end was their first on goal and was greeted with huge cheers. Shortly afterwards a fancy dress Jesus was spotted in their midst. “Jesus, Jesus, we need a miracle,” went up the chant.
Randy Lerner, Villa’s owner, is due to clarify his intentions today. There are suggestions a takeover is imminent. Lerner and Lambert were set to speak last night and Lambert’s position is precarious. His side finished 15th, grateful for the inadequacies of others.
“I’m every bit as disappointed as they are,” said the Scot of his own fans calling for his head. “I understand everybody’s frustration. It’s not nice to hear but I understand it. “
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