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Feisty Sherwood won't speculate on future

Updated: 2014-04-09 07:18
By Reuters in London ( China Daily)

Tottenham Hotspur manager Tim Sherwood came out fighting on Monday as his side ended a day full of speculation about his future with a 5-1 crushing of Sunderland in the Premier League.

All eyes were on the former Blackburn Rovers and Spurs midfielder after a Sky Sports report that he would be replaced at the end of the season.

But the 45-year-old did not look like a man about to be fired as he went through his usual array of touchline theatrics, clearly reveling in a victory that kept his side in the hunt for a top-four finish and Champions League soccer.

"I am the best manager this club has ever seen," the jocular Sherwood joked with reporters, after being asked whether he was the best man for the job despite speculation linking Netherlands World Cup coach Louis van Gaal to the White Hart Lane hot seat.

Sherwood was referring to statistics that show his points per game ratio in the Premier League exceeds any previous incumbent since he stepped up from coaching the under 18s to be given an 18-month contract after Andre Villas-Boas was dismissed in December.

"I have been given an opportunity to manage this football club, I owe it to the fans to do the job professionally ... and I just get on with the job," said Sherwood. "We got five (goals) and it should have been more. You can't do too much more than that.

"It can be tricky when teams are fighting for their lives, but I told the boys to take the shackles off now, you have got six more games and go and win all of them and see where it takes us."

Feisty Sherwood won't speculate on future

Earlier the club described reports Sherwood would be relieved of his duties in the summer as "speculation", saying talks would be held with the manager at the end of the season to review how things have progressed.

Two goals from striker Emmanuel Adebayor, who Sherwood restored to the team in the wake of Villas-Boas's firing, and a superb display by Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen, who chipped in with a goal and two assists, earned Sherwood his 10th win in 17 Premier League games - a healthy record for a Premier League rookie.

Adebayor led the praise by saluting Sherwood after his goals and bringing a smile to the face of a manager who, as in his playing days, wears his heart very much on his sleeve.

"I am not surprised Ade backed me, because he never played before I got here!" joked Sherwood.

"The players are backing me and I back them. What they get from me is honesty. When they don't do it I tell them, and when they do well I pat them on the back.

"That is healthy. I always wanted honesty from my managers and didn't always get it."

Sherwood refused to speculate on his future at the club, saying it was a matter for his employers to sort out.

He said he was instead concentrating on a strong finish in a season that began following the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid and a rash of big-money signings who have struggled to gel at times, faring badly against the top clubs.

A 4-0 thrashing at Chelsea last month led Sherwood to accuse some of his players of "lacking guts" while another heavy defeat at Liverpool in its previous game appeared to end any hopes of a top-four challenge - undermining Sherwood's position at the same time.

After brushing aside struggling Sunderland with a confident display, Tottenham returned to sixth place, five points behind north London rival Arsenal in fourth and four behind Everton, which Sherwood said is the favorite to claim the final Champions League spot. While his squad is still an outsider, Sherwood said there is hope.

"We are just thinking about winning the next five games and hopefully someone else slips up, but Everton has been magnificent, going about their business very quietly and building a team," he said.

(China Daily 04/09/2014 page23)