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


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.

Alexis Sanchez discusses Man United struggles

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Alexis Sanchez appears to be struggling with his disappointing start to life at Manchester United.

The Chilean star, 29, became the highest-paid player in the Premier League when he arrived from Arsenal in January in a swap deal for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but Sanchez has scored just one PL goal.

Sanchez has failed to make his mark on a consistent basis as United have also crashed out of the UEFA Champions League.

What does Sanchez put his lack of form down to?

In an Instagram post he left a caption saying that he was mentally exhausted: “I know you are tired. I know you are psychologically and emotionally exhausted. But you have to smile and continue”.

Speaking to the Chilean media ahead of their friendly against Sweden in Stockholm on Saturday, Sanchez revealed he has been struggling with the lack of impact he has had at United.

“The change of club was something that was very abrupt – it was the first time I’ve changed clubs in January – but many things have happened in my life that are difficult… As I am self-demanding, I expected something better. After my arrival at United, it was hard to change everything very quickly. I even hesitated to come here [to Sweden].”

Sanchez has looked better in a central role behind Romelu Lukaku but he hasn’t been used there often enough by Jose Mourinho.

At Arsenal he had the license to roam free in the attacking third but in Mourinho’s more defensive, rigid system he appears to be struggling to get on the ball in the right areas in and around the box. Sanchez has cut a frustrated figure out on the left wing and has given the ball away on multiple occasions as he tries to make the difficult passes and open up opposition defenses.

It appears that Sanchez is perhaps trying to hard to impress United and given his all-action displays, that is not easy to do.

United need more of him in the final third than out wide or tracking back to help out his own defense if they’re going to seal their top four spot and win the FA Cup to see out the final months of the season.

There’s no doubting Sanchez’s quality as we all know just how good he can be from his four seasons at Arsenal.

Yet, as he acknowledged himself, something at United isn’t quite right.

Premier League player Power Rankings

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With the Premier League players on international duty this week before the league resumes on March 31, now seems like a good time to take stock of which stars are shinning brightest.

[ MORE: Power Rankings archive ]

Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham were all in action over the past week, with four Premier League games and four FA Cup games taking center stage. The likes of Manchester City and Arsenal weren’t in action, so none of their players can be involved.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League.

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.

  1. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – Up 8
  2. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) – New entry
  3. Willian (Chelsea) – Up 1
  4. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester) – Down 2
  5. Romelu Lukaku (Man United) – Down 2
  6. David De Gea (Man United) – Up 4
  7. Heung-Min Son (Tottenham) – Down 1
  8. Nemanja Matic (Man United) – New entry
  9. Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham) – New entry
  10. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – Up 1
  11. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) – New entry
  12. Jamie Vardy (Leicester) – Down 3
  13. Erik Lamela (Tottenham) – New entry
  14. Junior Stanislas (Bournemouth) – New entry
  15. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) New entry
  16. Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea) – New entry
  17. Cenk Tosun (Everton) – New entry
  18. Theo Walcott (Everton) – Up 1
  19. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Southampton) – New entry
  20. Alvaro Morata (Chelsea) – New entry

Dutch police detain 25 England supporters for violence

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AMSTERDAM (AP) Dutch police say they detained 25 English soccer supporters overnight after drunken fans threw beer bottles at officers ahead of a friendly match between the Netherlands and England.

Police say riot police were deployed to downtown Amsterdam to deal with the rowdy supporters. Police detained the England fans for offenses including public disorder.

England will play the Netherlands at the Amsterdam Arena on the southern edge of the Dutch capital. Police say they plan to beef up security before and after Friday’s match.

About 1,500 England fans traveled to the Dutch capital for the match.

LA Galaxy announces Zlatan Ibrahimovic signing

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LA Galaxy have confirmed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has signed for them.

The Swedish veteran, 36, is the new No.9 for the Galaxy and in the video below he is shown alongside a lion and simply says: “Los Angeles, welcome to Zlatan!”

Classic Zlatan. The fact he announced his arrival in Los Angeles by taking out a full page ad in the LA Times on Friday also says it all.

[ MORE: Where will Zlatan rank in big-name players?

Major League Soccer now has a new icon as Ibrahimovic continues his glittering career in the USA after he terminated his contract with Manchester United earlier this week.

“I decided to sign with the Galaxy because I decided it was the best place for me. I have a lot to give. I can help them a lot. They are the best team in the U.S. There were no doubts,” Ibrahimovic said. “Hopefully it goes like I want and we can all share the happiness by winning. I feel good. I am training very hard. I need to play games to go in the rhythm. The more I play, the better I will be.”

With that positive update on his own fitness following some recent setbacks, Ibrahimovic was asked what he wants to achieve in MLS.

“I want to accomplish as much as possible,” Ibrahimovic said. “Wherever I went, I won. I played in the best clubs in the world, different countries, and I won. I am coming with this objective. I come to win. I want to win. I think it’s in my DNA that I am winning my trophies. It is no luck, no special moment. It is just me. Different place but same Zlatan.”

LA confirmed that Ibrahimovic has arrived via Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) as they currently have filled all three of their Designated Player spots.

It is believed Zlatan has joined on a two-year deal reportedly worth around $3 million per year. He could make his debut against new crosstown rivals LAFC on Mar. 31.

No doubt he will probably score the winner late on after jumping off the bench, then declare himself the Mayor of LA…