Tottenham 5 Sunderland 1: Tim Sherwood wields Harry Kane to thrash Sunderland at White Hart Lane

Amid talk he will be sacked, Sherwood shows what he has to offer

White Hart Lane

Tottenham sought to dismiss it as nothing but speculation and Tim Sherwood insisted all was business as usual down the Lane on Monday night. It ended with an emphatic victory for Sherwood’s side, meaning he has still won more games than he has lost, but that marginal advantage is not what Spurs’ hierarchy are looking for and that is why the man appointed manager in December is now expected to leave the role some time next month.

The club may insist on it but there are few who buy the official line that they will sit down with Sherwood come the end of the season to discuss the future and “to review how things have progressed”. If, as most believe, that is a future with someone else in charge – pick one from Louis van Gaal, Mauricio Pochettino and Frank de Boer – rather than Sherwood, then he will depart his first managerial role having squeezed a roller coaster of a tenure into five months.

This was a helter-skelter of a match that ended with the substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson slapping in a fifth goal in injury time to seal Sherwood’s biggest win in his 23rd game.

Read more: Sherwood: It's 'business as usual' despite reports of imminent sack

Sherwood was all smiles at the start and, despite the odd scowl when Sunderland took the lead and Spurs were denied a penalty at 1-1, he spent much of the game smiling and bantering with the crowd behind his dugout. They waved him off with cries of “Well done, Tim”.

How Sunderland would like to have Tottenham’s problems. They remain bottom of the Premier League, seven points adrift of Norwich in 17th. Gus Poyet’s side have games in hand – they still have seven to play – but it looks bleak. Among those games are trips to Chelsea and two to Manchester. Poyet’s hope will still to be in touch come the final two games, at home to West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City.

Fabio Borini of Sunderland shoots as he is challenged by Aaron Lennon of Tottenham Hotspur during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland Fabio Borini of Sunderland shoots as he is challenged by Aaron Lennon of Tottenham Hotspur during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland  

Sherwood shuffled his pack, or possibly the deckchairs on his own Titanic, making four changes to the side neatly shredded at Anfield eight days before. Emmanuel Adebayor, whose revitalisation had helped produce such a bright beginning to Sherwood’s time in charge, returned after missing three games with a hamstring injury. Sherwood gave Adebayor company up front as well with the inclusion of Harry Kane on his first league start for Spurs; behind the front two Vlad Chiriches, for the first time since last January, and Paulinho were brought back. Poyet, whose arrival in the dugout area was greeted by warm man-hugs from Les Ferdinand and Steffen Freund on the Uruguayan’s return to White Hart Lane, dropped John O’Shea for Carlos Cuellar and placed him in the middle of three centre-halves in another tinker with Sunderland’s formation.

Its initial effect was to give Tottenham ample early room down the flanks but sloppy crossing too often sailed high and wide of the intended target. It was one such effort that almost brought the home side the opening goal when Christian Eriksen’s overhit cross forced Vito Mannone to scramble the ball over his crossbar.

It was sloppiness at the other end that gifted Sunderland the lead. Chiriches and his goalkeeper Hugo Lloris got themselves in a muddle over a throw-in, whereupon the panicked Romanian rolled the ball straight to Lee Cattermole, who accepted the gift with the delight of a man who has scored one league goal in six years. It was his first for Sunderland.

On a surface becoming ever more slippery as the April showers turned full-time, the game opened up in frenetic, error-strewn but entertaining fashion; in other words, pretty much standard Premier League fare. Kyle Naughton shot inches wide before the omnipresent Cattermole set up Fabio Borini for an effort Lloris turned round the post.

The equaliser owed something to the conditions, Eriksen’s low cross skipping across the surface and defeating Wes Brown’s attempt to clear. Instead the ball bounced off Adebayor’s thigh and past Mannone. It was his 12th of the season. He should have made it 13 after another Eriksen cross but made contact only with thin air.

Poyet departed early for half-time, retreating down the tunnel yelling obscenely over his shoulder at the fourth official and perhaps the football world in general. Sherwood grinned after him. The roles were reversed early in the second half with Sherwood bouncing up the tunnel turning the air blue when Cuellar caught Kane inside the box, only for the referee Lee Mason to give a corner instead of the penalty it appeared to be.

The Spurs manager was a deal happier minutes later and again much of it was down to Eriksen. The 22-year-old whipped in another low centre, which Brown failed to deal with, and Kane steered the ball home. After an anxious start Kane had grown into the game and he recovered from a nasty clash of heads soon after his goal to link up with Adebayor with increasing confidence as the match became stretched.

Sunderland threatened little in the second half, with only the home side’s nervousness at the back offering any hope. Eriksen settled it as a contest 13 minutes from the end, producing a skidding shot which slipped past Mannone with the aid of a slight deflection. It was the least the Dane deserved.

Adebayor’s energetic performance was also rewarded when he scored from an offside position after Mannone had allowed Kane’s shot to slip from his grasp.

Match details

Spurs: Lloris, Naughton, Kaboul, Chiriches, Rose, Lennon, Chadli, Paulinho, Eriksen, Adebayor, Kane

Sunderland: Mannone, Vergini, Cuellar, Brown, Alonso, Ki, Bridcutt, Cattermole, Bardsley, Borini, Johnson

Goals. Tottenham Hotspur Adebayor 28, 86, Kane 59, Eriksen 78, Sigurdsson 90

Sunderland. Cattermole 17

Subs: Tottenham Sigurdsson (Chadli 82), Townsend (Lennon 84) Veljkovic (Paulinho 88).

Sunderland Gardner (Cuellar 72), Scocco (Cattermole 72)

Booked: Sunderland Alonso, Cattermole.

Man of the match Eriksen Match rating 7/10.

Possession: Tottenham 61% Sunderland 39%

Atts on target: Tottenham 11 Sunderland 6.

Referee L Mason (Manchester).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
filmReview: In the face of all-round devastation, even Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson appears a little puny
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bright lights, big city: Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles by dusk
books
Sport
Harry Kane makes Paul Scholes' Premier League team of the season
footballPaul Scholes on the best players, managers and goals of the season - and the biggest disappointments
News
i100
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

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor