Hate the game, not the player

As Spurs prepare to face Stoke City at White Hart Lane, some fans seem to be almost be wishing for Tim Sherwood to fail.

He’s a Gooner.
Glorified PE teacher.
Not qualified for the job.

So angry are they with his appointment, that they are critical of every decision he makes: too many strikers, no balance, no defensive midfielder, no striker on the bench, no tactics, no clue, etc.

Tim Sherwood has been working with our first team squad for two weeks – two weeks – and yet he seems to be mostly being judged on the same criteria that AVB was after nearly 18 months.

Sherwood needs time to implement his ideas, time to work out what system he wants to play to get the best out of our players and, crucially, our best players back from injury.

Against West Brom we were missing, due to injury or suspension:

Jan Vertonghen
Younes Kaboul
Mousa Dembele
Aaron Lennon
Andros Townsend
Jermain Defoe
Harry Kane

Not far off a full team, and a decent one too.

His options were limited, his team pretty much picked itself. The only real decision was whether to slot Lewis Holtby or Etienne Capoue in alongside Christian Eriksen.

Much has been made of the decision to play the ball-playing Holtby, rather than the defensive-minded Capoue. Personally, I think there were two issues:

Firstly, whilst Capoue has put in a couple of performances of note, I don’t think he has been consistently impressive so far, and I had no problem with the idea of having two players trying to get on the ball, move it quickly, and put us on the front foot.

Secondly, since returning from injury, Capoue has looked sluggish and unfit, lacking his previous sharpness. And that has been from central defence – a less ‘energetic’ position than central midfield. If he’s looked rusty at centre back, why would we play him in midfield until he’s back to his previous sharpness? In playing him for 45 minutes for the Under-21s, Sherwood seemed to suggest that he felt Capoue needed the game for fitness.

I personally I think that people are jumping on the central midfield conundrum in the same way that they were jumping on the inverted wingers under AVB; it’s a concept that doesn’t require much tactical knowledge to understand, and so stands out to the every day fan. In truth we’ve not exactly been ripped to shreds in our last few games despite having most of our best defensive players out injured. In fact, our main failing has arguably been our wide players failing to get good enough balls to justify starting two strikers… except against Southampton where we provided some decent crosses, and scored three for the first time since April.

And whilst I’m on my hobby horse, I’d just like to reiterate that 4-4-Tim is not 4-4-2 obsessed – it wasn’t a formation he used for the Under-21s in the U21 Premier League or for the Under-19s in the NextGen Series. He mostly preferred 4-3-3.

Sherwood generally used a natural holding midfield player for the Under-21s; often either Giancarlo Gallifuoco or Milos Veljkovic (who also plays as a centre back). Sherwood was a holding midfield player himself in a Premier League winning side so knows the importance of the role. I also saw Sherwood utilise Dean Parrett as a false 9 as we beat Arsenal 4-2 in the U21 Premier League last season, which illustrates that he’s not the ‘old fashioned’ type that some will have you believe. In terms of tactics generally, Chris Ramsey (as an FA coaching assessor) failed a young Villas-Boas when the Portuguese was taking his Uefa B license. There is tactical knowledge within the setup.

But I digress. The point I mostly want to make is that, whatever you think of him, Sherwood has not appointed himself. Daniel Levy has deemed Sherwood an appropriate choice and, until the end of the season at least, he will be our Head Coach/Manager. If you’re angry with this appointment, then surely Levy is the man to direct your anger towards – not Sherwood himself.

As I wrote in my ‘What a difference a week makes‘ article, though, there is a sense of continuity to the appointment of Sherwood, if nothing else:

There is a sense of continuity about the appointment, which I like and admire. Just as much as it gives a sense of satisfaction when a youth player gets a game for the first team – and I was very proud to see Nabil Bentaleb come off the bench on Sunday – there is a good feeling associated with an internal promotion. Sherwood might not have top-level management experience, but he clearly has a skill set which Levy has deemed transferable.

But – regardless of where you stand on his appointment – it would, surely, be best to put your tactical differences to one side. To accept that it’s going to take him time to work out a winning formula. To give him a chance to get his ideas across to the players. To wait until he’s got a fully fit squad to pick from before judging.

To unite behind our manager, and not give up just yet – there’s still plenty left to play for.


Join the conversation

  1. I agree entirely! Coaching is about positivity, lets be positive, COYS!
  2. Tim now has 11 weeks to enrol on the final coaching course, once he has enrolled he can manage beyond the 12 week caretaker period, he doesnt actually have to pass he has to be 'working towards qualification'. Same as teachers in further education. Teachers in primary and secondary have to spend their time teaching at two schools to actually get qualified. This would be considered normal practice for most industries of it's kind, the criticism is bizarre. As for the arsenal fan thing, the last one got us to the Champions League, no one complained then. 442 is a bit Mike Basset though, he doesn't strike me as someone stuck in the ninties, but we'll see
    1. Well said, fully agree.
  3. why do the badges matter? Tim hasn't got to where he is now by being an average coach, it's merely a hoop to jump through...
    1. He hasn't got to where he is by being a coach at all, this is his first senior job (including assistant coach positions).
      1. He has coached plenty, though.
  4. Fair points Windy. There are a lot of players out. I'd like to see Ade, Soldado and Lamela given a run of games as there is a lot of talent there.
    1. Huge array of talent, we just have to get the best from it.
  5. Great post Windy. Some of our fans, particularly at home games, are so negative it makes me SO ANGRY. Come of guys let's get behind our new 'head coach' and turn this season round
    1. Absolutely. I wasn't at the game today but the atmosphere sounded more positive.
  6. Fair points, but you must agree Windy not starting Capoue against wba was naive. We could have lost that game if not for monsieur lloris and some bad finishing. Whilst i understand a ball playing midfield should enable us to move around quicker, it didnt really work. Siggy, eriksen, holtby are similiar players and kept getting in each others way. Balance is essential. That said, Tim has my fullest support as Avb did.
    1. I thought Capoue struggled a bit today even - doesn't look fully fit to me.
  7. You said Sherwood didn't appoint himself,well i believe that perhaps he did, Levy seems a smart guy, i cant see the point of sacking an inexperienced head coach who is trying to make a new squad and replace him with an even more less experienced head coach unless you had someone in your ear saying that they could do a better job. We all know that Sherwood is the golden boy in the eyes of Tottenham management and that's how he got the job.
    1. I guess because AVB had 18 months and struggled to instil any sort of plan of attack.
      1. I guess this is the only part of your piece I disagree with Windy: He clearly forced Levy's hand and came out with a fair bit of Redknapp-esque self-serving sound bites most notably "I wouldn't do this job on an interim basis". In any other industry for someone with so little direct experience to be so arrogant with a sense of entitlement would normally be a sign that he was te owners son! That said, nothing would please me more if this turned out to be the inspired appointment and we get 5 successful years with the new Steve Kean at the helm and I am of course backing him.
  8. Finally, someone with the sense to say what is so obvious about the non-selection of Capoue in the West Brom game. Capoue has looked sluggish and clueless since coming back from injury. Sherwood played both Capoue and Holtby for 45 minutes in a friendly and it was probably on the basis of what he saw there that he made his decision. As none of the fans who are up in arms about this selection were present at the friendly, then they aren't really in a position to comment on the decision. Equally, none of us know what really happens at the club and so we shouldn't be too quick to pass judgement on either AVB's sacking or Sherwood's appointment. As you state, however, some fans seem to delight in negativity. The abuse that I hear shouted down at the Lane is ridiculous. All of our players are good players but their confidence can hardly be improved by the constant groans and insults that they hear. Perhaps that has something to do with our terrible home form.
  9. Not Sherwoods fault we have so many injuries. His first league game in charge we score three for the first time in twenty odd games. He brings back Adebayor who is man of the match. Not his fault the way we spent the Bale money. Not the fans fault for moaning ,we have seen nine games at the Lane and eight goals. A team needs time but huge money spent on Lamela and Soldado and neither have remotely looked good enough. Lamela does not make the team even with Townsend and Lennon missing. At least he has time on his side. Soldado is nearing 29 no sell on value. He lacks pace, has little physical strength, is very one footed cannot beat a man and worse still his work rate is at best moderate. Defoe was already there as the penalty box poacher and is certainly no worse.Most quality Spanish signing have hit the ground running in the Premiership. Soldado has had almost half a season and one goal in open play. Under AVB the service to him was poor but even so he does not look like a 25 million pound striker. What would Tottenham give to have the 56 million back? It certainly is not money well spent. We buy Lamela who wants to play on the right when we already have Lennon and Townsend who both favour that side. Sherwood has an impossible job. Spurs fans want success and entertainment when so far this season we have seen neither. Top six would be an achievement and yet people still think we are a top four team. If Sherwood can entertain us and get 6th he should get the job as AVB was never going to achieve either. Good luck to him and I could not care less who he supports!
  10. With all the injuries we have, Tim was spot on today with tactics and team selection . Came away from the game happy,and us fans need to get behind the team more.
    1. Totally agree!
  11. How do you know that AVB was not going to achieve either? It's all very well complaining about people griping about Sherwood so early, but what's good for the goose is good for the gander: he was the source of the negative stuff at the beginning of AVB's tenure. He might do well, he might not. I doubt he will be there beyond the end of the season. Then again, he's not going to be given a hard time by the likes of Samuel and his glove puppet, Ashton, or our perennial caretaker, Pleat. He was also making snide remarks about AVB a few weeks ago and then made gormless comments about the EL, a qualification stage where position is all that matters.
  12. The "he" regarding the EL refers to Pleat, not Sherwood.
  13. It was a nasty tackle and I think it was deliberate. I wish we could cite him like in RU.
  14. Spot on. I'd like to go a bit further regarding the atmosphere at WHL. The fans pay their money & are entitled to moan but come on, there has to be some logic behind it. AVB was right when he recently said that the team needs the fans support. WHL is the most negative atmosphere in the PL where it should be the most positive due to the proximity of the crowd to the pitch. How do fans think that booing individual players or the team at half time will help?! Give Sherwood a chance - the same people moaning about his appointment are the same people who wanted AVB out. We all know he won't be in charge next season but whilst he is in charge, support him. Only he knows what he sees on the training ground & he makes the decision on who plays - we know nothing about injuries, attitude etc. Forget about the money we spent in the summer - thats history. We also know that whoever comes in next season will sell a few of the new recruits but for now that's what we have to work with. We've got a talented squad who should do well & the early signs are that we have what we want - decent attacking football creating lots of chances. So lets support the team & cut out the booing!
  15. I read Jonathan Wilson's tactical review today in The Guardian and given the problems with our fullbacks, do you think that a back three of Verts/Kab/Vlad would be the best defensive option in a 3-5-2 formation?
  16. I'm really enjoying the theme/design of your site. Do you ever run into any internet browser compatibility problems? A small number of my blog visitors have complained about my blog not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome. Do you have any tips to help fix this problem?

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