Headless chickens

Spurs vs Benfica report
The two managers refuse to even acknowledge each other at the final whistle.
The interim reign of Tim Sherwood took another twist last night as he picked Harry Kane to start against Benfica in midfield. It defied logic and totally backfired as he was largely a peripheral figure.

Spurs vs Benfica was a night to look forward to, the worry started as soon as I saw the team sheet.

Harry Kane's contribution was to give the ball away in midfield allowing Benfica straight through a vacant centre of defence. Hugo Lloris came to his rescue, but from the resulting corner Benfica scored. No mistake from Kane, no corner, no goal.

On the positive side at the other end, he was fouled on the edge of the area for Christian Eriksen to curl one in from the resulting free-kick. You have to ask why hasn't he been taking them all season because before Christmas he wasn't.

This defeat though was not Harry Kane's fault, he hasn't proven he can play in the Premier League yet so quite what he was expected to produce in Europe goodness knows. A wrong selection Mr Sherwood I'm afraid.

How on earth do the players know what is going on with change after change after change. You have to have a system and stick to it, this continual change was never going to work and isn't working. We have had five different basic systems under Tim Sherwood so far.

Roberto Soldado scores a goal to take a weight off his shoulders and then doesn't get picked, what is the guy supposed to think, how is sitting on the bench for several games going to boost his confidence?

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Related Articles:
Sandro reveals some players have let the club down
Tim Sherwood's standing within Spurs may have actually increased
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We did exactly the same to Erik Lamela earlier in the season, he scored and had a great European night at home with his family present and we should have given him a half-hour cameo in the Premier League game, but no he sat on the bench for several games and that opportunity was blown.

Sometimes the management have got to take responsibility for making mistakes and not just say it's the players fault. Players this season have been mis-managed and that is still continuing it seems.

Some of Sherwood's decision simply defy explanation. Has he actually just resorted to giving players auditions for next season?

Tim Sherwood asked for character once again. He asked against Dnipro and now asks against Benfica. Character though has to be channeled within a system. There isn't a system to channel it in, nobody knows what system is being played week to week. You are asking for the players to keep getting you out of trouble and that can only happen so often.

What we had was 11 men trying to show character, but individual character and not character as a team. Mistakes occur, and there were plenty of them, because a player is not 100% focused, determined and playing with desire for the club. Giving your best without the desire, which can not be faked, will always result in mistakes as you switch off.

The team tonight did not have 11 men playing with a passion for the shirt. Jan Vertonghen is one simply going through the motions, Paulinho another, Naughton wants to leave and isn't good enough anyway, Eriksen looks ordinary game after game but then he is not a left winger.

The game showed Sandro's words (see related article above) were spot on.

It is not much good Younes Kaboul running around trying to do everything when he is not concentrating on his own job. He is not needed getting in the way on the right wing. He burst out of defence in one occasion, passed the ball to Lennon and then ran towards him bringing defenders with him, the exact opposite of what he should have been doing. All he did was get in the way, he should have headed for the box.

That incident epitomised the problem, too many players playing as headless chickens.

Benfica were easily the superior side, they played as a team, we played as individuals. It has become clear that some of the players have not been playing for Sherwood, they have been going through the motions. It seems patently obvious they they know he is a temporary boss and are waiting for the new manager in the summer.

The fact that players were shouting at the team meeting demonstrates they know some of them couldn't care less. A team can't perform in those circumstances. It probably means that some of them have no respect for someone without any coaching experience, or don't like honesty.

Jan Vertonghen being booked means he is out of the second leg so we'll have one fit centre-half. That may mean Zeki fryers having to play there, it may mean Sandro even playing there or Sherwood may dip into the development squad once again.

What will the score be, I dread to think. With the managers having a spat and refusing to shake hands at the end Benfica will probably want to score five.

The season can't end quick enough. Daniel Levy despite board words to the contrary, needs Louis Van Gaal or Cesare Prandelli as a matter of urgency.

I was dead against Tim Sherwood's appointment from the start but there have been positives. His standing within the club has probably increased and he will be informing Daniel Levy which players do not have the desire to play for Spurs.

It depends upon what Levy wanted out of the appointment to determine whether it has been a failure, it has in footballing terms. To be fair to Sherwood it was 18 months of Andre Villas-Boas that has left the club in a mess. Gareth Bale carried a bunch of average players. With his money we have bought another bunch who are waiting for the summer. Tim has had to try and pick up the pieces and muddle through.

Our season is going the way we expected it to when he was appointed so disappointment is tempered with reason. It was a wrong appointment as is now being shown. Bring on the next game and let's see what formation we play and who is selected this time, I'd wager it will be different again.




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