Five things Tim Sherwood can do to land the Tottenham job

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Following Andre Villas-Boas’ being sacked as Tottenham Hotspur boss on Monday, many are throwing potential replacements into the hat as Spurs search for a new boss.

But what about the guy they’ve put in charge on an interim basis, Tim Sherwood?

For those we haven’t heard of him, no, he’s not got anything to do with Robin Hood or that famous forest… But he was a bloody good midfielder who led Blackburn Rovers to the Premier League title in the 1994-95 season and his traits of gritty determination, leadership and appreciation for organization has spilled over to his coaching career.

Now Sherwood has been handed the chance to show what he can do for Spurs, as he takes charge of Tottenham for their League Cup quarterfinal against West Ham on Wednesday. It is thought chairman Daniel Levy has faith in Sherwood and likes the fact that he’s not only played for Spurs but captained them and worked with the youth and reserve sides as a coach.

(MORE: Spurs in hunt for new boss after sacking Andre Villas-Boas)

Remember at Barcelona when Pep Guardiola took over? He was a young coach who had previously played for Barca as a holding midfielder. Could Sherwood become Spurs’ Guardiola? It’s far too early to start that talk but everyone has to start somewhere.

If he wants the job on a permanent basis, here’s five things he can do to help himself out:

1. Get the players laughing

Spurs have had two catastrophic defeats in recent weeks, so getting his squad to have a giggle and lighten the mood will be key. It’s a tense situation as the players and Sherwood himself are in limbo. This is a chance for him to prove himself but also to gain the respect of the players. Sometimes that comes from being able to connect with them on a human basis, something AVB was criticized for not doing enough. Sherwood has been around this side for a long time as a coach, now it’s his time to lead them for how ever many games. Put on a show and smile.

2. Instill his philosophy

Having got my UEFA B coaching badge, one of the things you’re always told to remember as a coach is that your own philosophy is paramount. If you don’t know how you want your team to play, then how the hell are they going to know? Sherwood has to set out his stall accordingly and set Spurs up the way he wants. I’d hazard a guess that he’ll play two up front and play attacking soccer that he used to be the lynchpin of as a holding midfielder during Blackburn Rovers’ heyday. Spurs fans will like that.

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Can Sherwood use his many years of experience as Blackburn and Spurs captain to lead Tottenham to glory?

3. Provide a clean slate

Perhaps the easiest thing Sherwood can do is push the door open for those players who’ve been on the fringes or cast aside by AVB. One such player is Emmanuel Adebayor who fell out with the previous manager but has shown everyone that he’s capable of scoring goals in the Premier League in the past. That’s something Spurs need, so Sherwood handing Adebayor an olive branch already is a smart move.

4. Be brave

As we mentioned about his philosophy, Sherwood must stick to what he knows best and be ruthless in what he wants from his side. As an interim boss he will have plenty of other coaches and even directors whispering ideas in his ear, but he has been handed the reigns so he should stay strong and trust his instincts. The interim bosses who generally do well are those that are relaxed but let the players known, ‘this is how we’re going to play.’

5. Win…

The most simple formula for being handed the job permanently, but obviously the most difficult of the five steps. Sherwood has the chance to take Spurs to a League Cup semifinal if they beat West Ham in a London derby, that’s a challenge he will relish and just the type of game he used to thrive in as a player. His players will be hurting after the heavy defeat to Liverpool, so expect a response. If Sherwood lasts until the Southampton game on Sunday, that’s another big game for Spurs to show what they’re made of as they make the tricky yet winnable trip down to St. Mary’s. Good luck Tim, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain…

Timbers send Nagbe to Atlanta for allocation money

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) The Portland Timbers have traded midfielder Darlington Nagbe to Atlanta United in exchange for $1.65 million in allocation money.

Portland is also sending defender Gbenga Arokoyo to Atlanta and receiving a 2018 international spot as part of the trade.

[ RECAP – City hammer Swansea ]

Nagbe, who has become a regular on the U.S. national team, has been with the Timbers since the team joined MLS in 2011. He was selected with the second overall pick in that year’s MLS SuperDraft.

He has 27 goals and 30 assists in 214 matches with the Timbers. His goals are the second-most since the team joined MLS.

“Thank you, Portland, and everyone that supported my family and me the past seven years,” he said in a statement released by the Timbers.

Nagbe, 27, has 24 appearances with the national team and one goal.

Wenger says schedule congestion catching up to Arsenal

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Much like their 3-1 loss to Manchester United, Arsenal dominated the chances but couldn’t find the back of the net enough to get three points.

Unlike that Red Devils defeat, however, the Gunners were stout at the back against a lively West Ham United and picked up an away point from a nil-nil draw on Wednesday.

[ RECAP: West Ham 0-0 Arsenal ]

Wenger was content enough with the result, as he continued to be in the chorus of managers who lament the congested Premier League schedule around the holidays. From the BBC:

“We had so much of the ball, but it was very frustrating because we could even have lost it at the end. They’re happy to defend, they did that against Chelsea and Manchester City, so we couldn’t find the opening and the few chances we had we missed.

“When you play every three days, you lose your sharpness.”

That’s true, and to his credit Wenger didn’t try to say West Ham had one day’s more rest (which they did). As Man City runs away with the league and Manchester United doesn’t look fit to drop back to the back, the race for the final two Top Four spots is as congested as the schedule. Arsenal needs to turn some of its shot-heavy performances into goal-heavy cruises sometime soon.

Mourinho: Derby defeat didn’t help, but United overcame fatigue

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Jose Mourinho said the Manchester Derby nearly caught up to his men in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Bournemouth at Old Trafford.

[ RECAP: Man Utd 1-0 Bournemouth ]

The Manchester United manager says that’s not on account of emotions or let down, but simply the volume of matches his Red Devils have played and the extra rest afford the visitors.

Romelu Lukaku climbed Nathan Ake to find United its opener, and the hosts were defending plenty in the second half. But United was able to endure on a soggy night at home, and maintain its place second on the Premier League table.

From the BBC:

“Fatigue, yes, but hangover – no. The game was a big one, and a defeat does not help in your recovery – victories help, defeats don’t. They were difficult opponents and difficult conditions. If we had scored the second it would have been a calm night for us.”

That said, this felt like one of the matches United would’ve drawn last season, and Lukaku was a difference maker as were David De Gea and Phil Jones at the back.

And Mourinho would not mail in the title race despite Man City’s 11-point advantage and continued league dominance.

“It is only over in May, if it is over now I go on holiday to Brazil or Los Angeles.”

Guardiola lauds Man City after record 15th straight win

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Pep Guardiola is breaking records pretty much every time Manchester City step onto the pitch right now.

[ RECAP – City hammer Swansea ]

On Wednesday they set a new Premier League and English top-flight record for the most consecutive wins in history, with City winning 4-0 away at Swansea to seal their 15th-straight win and stay 11 points clear of the table.

City beat Arsenal’s previous record of 14-straight wins in the Premier League from February to August 2002, and now they remain unbeaten with 17 games of the season gone.

Guardiola now holds the record for most consecutive wins in the top-flight of Spanish, German and English soccer with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Man City respectively. He’s a machine and he’s turned Man City into one.

Speaking to the BBC after beat Swansea, Guardiola was delighted with the win, especially coming so soon after the energy-sapping Manchester derby win at Manchester United on Sunday.

“Considering we have a lot of games in our legs, a demanding game at Old Trafford three days ago, we were solid, we were serious and we made a good performance,” Guardiola said. “You suffer and enjoy, like a manager you see many things. When the team play good we are happy. Our feeling – we understand what we want to do. We play good inside, outside. I’m so happy for David (Silva), we cannot disguise his quality but in the past he didn’t score too much goals. He’s sharp, he’s in an amazing condition.”

Man City’s manager rightly pointed towards David Silva‘s brilliance as the Spanish playmaker scored twice at Swansea and he’s now scored four times in his last three games, including a late winner against West Ham and setting City on their way to a win at United on Sunday.

With the record now in hand and Man City also stretching their club-record unbeaten run in the top-flight to 25 games, is there a risk his side will be complacent as the bookmakers have slashed their PL title odds to 1/25?

“That is not going to happen. We are so demanding for our players. We can lose, we can drop points but complacency, never happened in the past, the present or the future,” Guardiola said. “Winning 15 games in a row gives us a lot of confidence. If people are happy watching us that is the best gift.”

Ahead of the festive season, Man City are the gift which keep on giving and they have to be up their with the best teams English soccer has ever seen.

Less than halfway through the 2017-18 season they show no signs of slowing down and the Premier League title is simply theirs to lose.

More records will fall this season as an imperious, attacking unit has been fine-tuned by Guardiola. We are watching history being made in beautiful fashion.