It’s only occasionally that you see the actions of football managers during a game. It’s usually only when there is some fall-out between the opposing managers. On Thursday evening, I spent 96 minutes, not in the company of Tim Sherwood, but in close proximity to him as the Europa League game unfolded.
From row 3 of the press box, at times you can’t see much of the game as there are so many officials, coaches, medical staff and others around the entrance to the players’ tunnel, especially when the play is at the Park Lane end. You can, however, watch the manager.
At the start, Sherwood came out and was calm, smiling, greeting those around him and had a friendly meeting with opposing manager, Juande Ramos. He then sat down in his seat but inside the first minute he had jumped to his feet, kicked open the gate which a now annoyed official had carefully closed seconds earlier. Sherwood had to get out to the technical area to bark some instructions across to the far side of the pitch.
And so his evening continued – up and down, off his seat to try to cajole the players, urging them on to greater efforts and turning away in disgust and frustration when a move broke down with a miss-placed pass. There were many frustrations for the manager – the gate post took a further kick as Sherwood returned to his seat in the second half.
When a decision went against Tottenham he would turn in annoyance to berate the fourth official who simply shrugged his shoulders, as if to say, what do you expect me to do. It continued through the evening and eventually led to a lecture from the French referee during the second half.
Sherwood kicked every ball, made every pass, celebrated each goal and shouted instructions at regular intervals throughout the 96 minutes. His greatest irritation was with the referee who added on only 1 minute at the end of the first half when the Dnipro goalkeeper was wasting time throughout and there had Ben a lengthy stoppage while the stretcher bearers made their way slowly behind the goal to attend to a visiting player.
Chris Ramsey stood in the entrance to the tunnel, observing and offering words of advice to Sherwood. Steffen Freund bounced about and hugged each player as they came off the field having Ben substituted.
Juande Ramos, the experienced manager, wasn’t as obvious on the touch line, standing observing with arms folded although he did focus on the 4th official, when he thought Emmanuel Adebayor had controlled the ball with his arms during the first half.
Asked about his annoyance at the referee by a reporter at the press conference, Sherwood said that the official had a good game but his time-keeping was the problem.
With the sending off having an influence on the final outcome of the game, Ramos accepted the decision although he thought it was harsh.
Tim Sherwood has only been in management for a short period but the pressure to get results is with him and clear to see.