Closing statement: Tim Sherwood wants new contract, continues lauding his performance

2 Comments

When Tim Sherwood brought a fan down to the Spurs managers’ seat for the last five minutes of Tottenham’s victory over Aston Villa, it was difficult to avoid searching for meaning behind the act, though it’s unclear which meaning fits. Was it a symbol that the role, so revered in English soccer, was less precious than assumed? Or was the act an unconscious confession that the man currently in the role could be swapped for one of White Hart Lane’s faithful. Maybe, it was an invitation – something Sherwood has been unwilling to confess to the camera: You can have this job.

It’s a bit cruel to take what was a a lighthearted gesture and turn it against the man, but Sherwood’s future is the talking point as Spurs embark on their offseason. It is largely assumed that, in the face of mixed results, Tottenham is looking for a new boss, with Dutch national team head coach Louis van Gaal having been linked with the club before Manchester United’s job opened up.

In the face of that speculation, Sherwood continues reciting his résumé, seeing each proffered microphone as an opportunity to trumpet his accomplishments.

“I can only be judged for the season when I’ve taken over,” Sherwood told the BBC after today’s victory. “A 59 percent win ratio is second to none. I’m happy with how I have done.”

It is an impressive number, but it’s also been accomplished with one of the club’s most-talented squads, a factor that led to André Villas-Boas’s dismissal after a series of terrible results. But those terrible results came against the league’s best, meaning at the time the former boss was dismissed, the fixture list in front of Sherwood wastemporarily cleared.

When the schedule brought the league’s best back around, the results were terrible once more. A two-goal loss at Arsenal in the League Cup. Losing by four to Manchester City. A 4-0 defeat at Chelsea, home loss to Benfica, another derby loss to Arsenal. Then, a four-goal failure at Anfield. If Sherwood made any progress, it wasn’t against the teams Spurs need to pass to secure Champions League soccer.

The 45-year-old remains defiant. As has become tradition under Sherwood, today’s post-match interviews were used to cite an opposing view of his record.

“If I had started the season, we would have finished in the Champions League places …” Sherwood claims. “If I’d have known it would only be for five months, I wouldn’t have done it, to be honest.”

On the surface, it’s a beguiling statement, particularly from a man who was at the club when Villas-Boas lost his job after lopsided losses to Manchester City and Liverpool. But if you consider that Sherwood may know he’s gone — that the 12 months left on his contract were only to back him for this season — you see his words as auditioning for other jobs. If he is happy with his results, hopefully other, future employers will be, too.

“This club means a lot to me but if I’m not to continue here as a manager I’ll be somewhere else,” Sherwood, a former Spurs midfielder, explained. “I think a quick decision would make sense..”

But if he is to continue with Spurs, Sherwood needs a new deal.

“It can only be [a new contract or leaving],’ Sherwood explained. ‘It will be interesting to see what I’ve been judged on. If I’m to leave it can’t be on results.”

But it will be. Sherwood was never the favorite to stay beyond this game, but he didn’t do himself any favors in the process. Had he won some of those games against Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, or Arsenal, he would have made his case. Now there’s no argument that he can do with Villas-Boas did not.

In touting his record, Sherwood’s merely pointing out he’s the best flat track bully Spurs have had. That won’t be enough to save his job.

LIVE – Champions League playoff: Nice-Napoli headlines action

Getty Images
Leave a comment

With Celtic (just about) booking their spot in the UEFA Champions League group stage on Tuesday, four more teams will join them.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ] 

Napoli, Olympiacos, Sevilla and Hapoel Be’er Sheva all have narrow leads heading into the second legs which sets things up rather nicely for the winner takes all second legs. Olympiacos and Be’er Sheva will be feeling particularly nervous after conceding at home in the first leg.

On Wednesday five more ties takes place across Europe with Liverpool looking to book their spot in the UCL group stage against Hoffenheim.

Below is the full schedule for Tuesday’s games, which kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET, while you can click on the link above to follow live commentary on all four matches.


Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League playoff second legs

Nice vs. Napoli (Napoli lead 2-0 on aggregate)
Astana 4-3 Celtic (Celtic advance 8-4 on aggregate)
Rijeka vs. Olympiacos (Olympiacos leads 2-1 on aggregate)
Sevilla vs. Istanbul Basaksehir (Sevilla leads 2-1 on aggregate)
Maribor vs. Hapoel Be’er Sheva (Hapoel Be’er Sheva lead 2-1 on aggregate)

LIVE – Premier League clubs enter League Cup

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Seven Premier League teams enter the League Cup second round on Tuesday with plenty of potential upsets lined up.

[ LIVE: Follow League Cup scores ]

All 13 PL clubs (six more are in action on Wednesday) face teams from the lower leagues with the likes of Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Bournemouth and Swansea City all on upset alert.

U.S. national team players to watch out for include Lynden Gooch who starts for Sunderland and Emerson Hyndman who is on the bench for Bournemouth.

Below is the schedule for the League Cup games on Tuesday with all games to kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET unless otherwise stated.


Tuesday
Crystal Palace vs. Ipswich Town – 2:30pm
Aston Villa vs. Wigan Athletic
Leeds United vs. Newport County
Middlesbrough vs. Scunthorpe United
Norwich City vs. Charlton Athletic
QPR vs. Brentford
Fulham vs. Bristol Rovers
Cardiff City vs. Burton Albion
Carlisle United vs. Sunderland
Doncaster vs. Hull City
Grimsby Town vs. Derby County
Brighton vs. Barnet
Accrington Stanley vs. West Brom
Sheffield United vs. Leicester City
Birmingham City vs. Bournemouth
Watford vs. Bristol City
MK Dons vs. Swansea City
Reading vs. Millwall – 3pm
Bolton vs. Sheffield Wednesday – 3pm

Celtic qualify for UEFA Champions League group stage

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Celtic survived a scare in Kazakhstan to qualify for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League for the second season on the trot.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]

Brendan Rodgers‘ side beat FC Astana 5-0 in the first leg of their playoff last week at Celtic Park but the trip to Kazakhstan proved much trickier with Astana leading 4-1 late in the game which had pulled the score back to 6-4 on aggregate.

However, Scott Sinclair had scored a priceless away goal to make it 1-1 at half time and despite a late flurry of goals for the hosts Olivier Ntcham scored a deflected effort and Leigh Griffiths wrapped things up late on as Celtic lost 4-3 on the night but went through 8-4 on aggregate.

Last season the Scottish champions went out in the UCL group stage after being drawn with Manchester City, Barcelona and Borussia Monchengladbach and will be hoping for a kinder draw this time around.

Premier League clubs on League Cup upset alert

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The second round of the League Cup (known as the Carabao Cup in 2017-18 for sponsorship reasons) kicks off on Tuesday with 13 Premier League clubs in action.

[ MORE: League Cup scores live ]

All 13 have been drawn against lower-league opposition and those klaxons you can hear signify upset alerts.

Below is a look at how each Premier League club will get on as they enter the competition on Tuesday and Wednesday with a ranking on each game out of 10, with 10 being the most likely for an upset to occur.

Remember: the seven PL teams in European competition will enter the League Cup in the third round.


Upset alert ranking for PL clubs

Tuesday
Crystal Palace vs. Ipswich Town – 8/10
Brighton vs. Barnet – 4/10
Accrington Stanley vs. West Brom – 7/10
Sheffield United vs. Leicester City – 6/10
Birmingham City vs. Bournemouth – 7/10
Watford vs. Bristol City – 5/10
MK Dons vs. Swansea City – 5/10

Wednesday
Newcastle United vs. Nottingham Forest – 6/10
Southampton vs. Wolves – 7/10
Huddersfield Town vs. Rotherham United – 7/10
Cheltenham vs. West Ham United – 8/10
Stoke City vs. Rochdale – 6/10
Blackburn Rovers vs. Burnley – 6/10