Sherwood throws down gauntlet
Tim Sherwood (Getty Images)
London - Interim Tottenham Hotspur manager Tim Sherwood has urged his players to respond in positive fashion when they take to the pitch for the first time since Andre Villas-Boas was sacked.
Spurs host Premier League rivals West Ham United in the League Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday, two days after Villas-Boas's 17-month tenture as manager came to an end.
Villas-Boas's last fixture was a chastening 5-0 defeat at home to Liverpool on Sunday and Sherwood wants the team to show their quality against West Ham, who won 3-0 at White Hart Lane in October.
"When you lose your manager it's a change and you've got to listen to a different voice, but I'm hoping to get a few messages across in a short space of time so we can get a positive result against West Ham," Sherwood told the club's in-house television station, Spurs TV, on Tuesday.
"It's a huge game, especially on the back of what they did to us at the Lane. It was disappointing. We have to get out there on the front foot and we have to impose ourselves on them as soon as we can during the game."
West Ham have slipped down the table since their victory at Spurs, winning only two of their last 10 games in all competitions, and Sherwood hopes that their minds will be elsewhere on Wednesday evening.
"Hopefully they've got their concentration on Premier League safety rather than the cup tomorrow night," he added.
"We have to be patient. They got bodies behind the ball and tried to catch us on the counter-attack. We're aware of that. Let's just hope we can impose ourselves on them nice and early, get the crowd behind us and really be up and at them."
Spurs will be without captain Michael Dawson and midfielder Paulinho, both of whom are suspended, while holding player Sandro is expected to be out for around a week with a calf problem.
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce believes that Villas-Boas was given precious little time to assimilate the seven new players signed by Spurs during the close season.
"To get the team playing together as a team and understanding each other in such a short period of time is nearly impossible," he said.
"You would have to be a miracle worker to get everyone functioning to the best of their ability when they have just arrived from a foreign country into a different culture that they have never played in before."
Manchester United manager David Moyes also expressed sympathy for the sacked Portuguese.
"It makes me realise how lucky I have been at the clubs I have been at," said Moyes, whose side visit Stoke City in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
"I worked for great people at Preston, great people at Everton, and my short experience at Manchester United tells me I am working for really good people here.
"Maybe some of the other managers haven't been as fortunate as I have."
Sherwood has been temporarily promoted from his role as technical director while Spurs, currently seventh in the Premier League table, seek a permanent successor to Villas-Boas.
A source close to former Tottenham manager Glenn Hoddle revealed on Tuesday that he would be interested in reprising his role at the club.
Hoddle, 56, has not worked as a manager since leaving Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2006, but he appears eager to return to Spurs, where he made his name as a player before becoming coach in 2001.
A story published on a website co-founded by Hoddle on Tuesday said: "Zapsportz.com understands that Hoddle will certainly help if the club makes an approach."