Tim Sherwood spoke to the media for the first time as Aston Villa manager on Monday, as the former Tottenham Hotspur boss has one heck of a job on his hands to keep Villa in the Premier League.
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In the bottom three with a third of the season to go, Villa are hurtling towards a first-ever relegation from the PL.
Sherwood, 46, is a brash, bold character who won the PL as a player, captaining Blackburn Rovers to the title in 1994-95, but this challenge at the other end of the table looks to be his biggest in soccer to date.
His record at Spurs last season speaks for itself: in 28 games in charge he won 14, drew four and lost 10 times, boasting a 50 percent win ratio. He was let go last summer as Tottenham lined up Mauricio Pochettino, as job opportunities at Crystal Palace, West Brom and QPR came and went but Sherwood pounced on the chance to take charge of Villa and turn around their fortunes.
After replacing Paul Lambert in charge at Villa Park, Sherwood will not have a similar class of player at his disposal as he did at Spurs but he is relishing the challenge.
“They are a giant club with a lot of history and it’s a great honor to be asked to be manager,” Sherwood told reporters. “I’ve come from one big club to another big club. It is a fantastic opportunity for me. I will give 100 percent to keep Villa in the Premier League and then try to move it on in the future… I’ve got a way of playing. It has been a success with the Spurs development side and in the first team. I know how to galvanize and get the best out of players and that is what I intend to do with this squad.”
Sherwood is motivator. He keeps his teams tactics relatively simple and is all about causing the opposition problems and being direct. Villa have the players he needs to do that, but he will have to get each and every one of them on board to make sure they give everything for the cause.
With a cheeky grin, Sherwood often resembles a lovable rogue on the touchline and in press conferences. A disciple of Harry Redknapp at Tottenham, where Sherwood served as an assistant coach and technical director before taking the top job, Sherwood believes in attacking soccer. That will be music to the ears of Villa’s fans as they are the lowest scorers in the PL with just 12 goals so far this season. At Spurs, Sherwood got the best out of talented players who many had written off as primadonna’s and there are plenty of players who fall under that category at Villa. Can he rejuvenate Christian Benteke they way he kicked Emmanuel Adebayor into life?
Sherwood watched the first half of Villa’s last 16 FA Cup win over Leicester City on Sunday from the stands and then arrived in the dressing room at half time for a surprise pep talk with the game locked at 0-0. The Villains looked a different team in the second half and Sherwood’s directions to attack seemed to pay off.
These are the fixtures Sherwood has to keep Villa in the Premier League, as he needs to grab at least six wins from their final 13 games. Can Villa do it?
Aston Villa’s remaining games
Feb. 21 – Stoke City (H)
Feb. 28 – Newcastle United (A)
Mar. 3 – West Brom (H)
Mar. 14 – Sunderland (A)
Mar. 21 – Swansea City (H)
Apr. 4 – Manchester United (A)
Apr. 11 – Tottenham Hotspur (A)
Apr. 18 – Queens Park Rangers (H)
Apr. 25 – Manchester City (A)
May 2 – Everton (H)
May 9 – West Ham (H)
May 16 – Southampton (A)
May 24 – Burnley (H)