Tim Sherwood launched an extraordinary attack on his players and the club after Tottenham’s 4-0 defeat derby against Chelsea on Saturday night.
In an emotional post-match interview following his side’s capitulation against their London rivals, Sherwood hit out at a lack of characters in the Tottenham dressing room, claimed there are players he ‘couldn’t count on’ and urged the club’s hierarchy to ‘wake up’ in their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.
A furious Sherwood said:
“There is a lack of character and, too many who are too nice to each other. You can’t always be someone’s mate all the time.
“It hurts me. We need to show more guts and the players have to drag it out of each other.
“I ain’t going to forget about this by the time we get to the motorway. Some might. There’s a few [players] I would count on and there’s a few I wouldn’t.
“We are miles away from the top four unless we beat the top teams. There’s been too many blips and we can’t rely on rolling smaller teams over.
“People and the club think we will finish top four… wake up.”
Defensive errors cost Tottenham dearly and three of the four goals they conceded came from errors. They fell behind to a goal from Eto’o, which came after Jan Vertonghen’s defensive error, before mistakes from Sandro and Kyle Walker led to the third and fourth goals.
Tottenham play the first leg of their last-16 Europa League tie at home to Portuguese side Benfica on Thursday and Sherwood said he expects an instant response from his side.
“We’ve got the Europa League on Thursday and we owe the fans a performance,” he said. “We let them down again on the big occasion.”
Asked about Younes Kaboul’s sending off which led to the second goal, Sherwood said:
“It’s not a penalty. And it’s not a sending off, but the game’s finished after that.
“The fans were fantastic here for us. We let them down again on the big occasion. We’re not going to finish top four if we can’t beat the top teams. It ain’t going to happen. Miles away – unless you beat the top teams.
“Alright we beat Man United, beat Everton who are in and teams around us. But you’re reliant on rolling over, with respect, the smaller teams and it can’t always happen like that.”
Sherwood’s future as manager is in no way given that current Holland manager Louis van Gaal has confirmed he will leave that position at the end of the season and there have been talks that he might be the one to replace Sherwood in the summer.
The defeat leaves Spurs fifth in the table with the task of reaching the Champions League spots all but impossible. They are four points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, who have three games in hand, and have also played more games than Liverpool and Arsenal in second and third.
Spurs’ lead over United and Everton is also down to five points now, with both the sides having games in hand over them. In fact, Everton, who have two games in hand over Spurs, will move into fifth place ahead of them if they manage to win both of them.
Tottenham have a tough run of fixtures coming up with their next three games being are against cross-town rivals Arsenal and Southampton at home followed by the trip to Liverpool. Any slip-ups in these games could see them lose out on their fifth spot, and end any hopes they might still have for Champions League qualification.