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Test For Tim Sherwood Against Cup-Master Juande Ramos


Tim Sherwood has discovered the reality of management at the highest level in Tottenham’s last two matches. Juande Ramos and Chris Hughton had their teams well organised and highly motivated ready to fight to the last and so recorded deserved wins while Spurs struggled to get any pattern or energy into their game.

Thursday’s Europa League 2nd leg match against FC Dnipro at White Hart Lane will be another tough test for the fledgling manager as he comes up against a manager with great experience in European competitions and considerable success with Sevilla prior to his brief spell in charge at Spurs.

Ledley King in his autobiography ‘King’, described how Ramos took Spurs to Carling Cup success winning at Manchester City with ten men, and then defeated Arsenal 5 – 1 in the semi-final 2nd leg before the Wembley triumph. He commented, ‘tactically Ramos was good, especially over two legs.’

King says that Ramos watched Arsenal closely in the first leg, learnt how to beat them and then devised a plan to expose their weaknesses.

It was Ramos’ success in the UEFA Cup which had attracted Daniel Levy to him as a possible appointment at White Hart Lane. I was at the Lane on the night that Ramos hit us hard with two goals in the opening minutes to set up Sevilla’s progression to the semi-finals of the competition and subsequently retain the trophy.

That night there had been a tremendous sense of anticipation around the stadium with expectations high that Martin Jol’s team could make it through having performed so admirably in Spain where they had ben unfortunate to come home with a 2 -1 defeat.

The expectation had been that Sevilla would look to defend what they had but to the contrary they set out quickly and shocked Spurs with their early intentions. Poor defensive play by Tottenham aided the visitor’s in their cause and left Spurs and the crowd deflated. While Tottenham managed a second half rally to earn a 2 – 2 draw, the early set-backs had been too much to overcome.

Now Dnipro under Ramos arrive at Tottenham with a single goal advantage and one could say in a stronger position than Sevilla as Spurs don’t have an away goal to their account this time so will know that any defensive mistakes could prove very costly.

Tim Sherwood has had a warning in the game in Ukraine so will he be able to respond and out-fox the Cup-master, Ramos, who would take great delight from making a point to Daniel Levy at White Hart Lane?

How will Tim Sherwood cope? Sherwood needs to ensure that his team is ready for the challenge. Their past two performances have been poor, lacking drive and direction. A problem with Spurs throughout the season has been their inability to impose themselves on a game from the kick-off. Too often they’ve allowed teams to take control and dominate the early play.

They have, on most occasions, survived the early pressure and managed to raise their game to take the points but there was little indication that they were going to do that in the past two games.

Dnipro without any league fixtures, will be thoroughly prepared for and focused on this match. Having won a game in a European competition after their league’s winter break for the first time last Thursday, they will want to complete the task tomorrow by progressing to the last-16 of the Europa League.

Tottenham will need to to improve greatly on recent displays and turn around this season’s disappointing form at White Hart Lane. If Tim Sherwood fails to get a response and performance from the players, then Juande Ramos will have the perfect return to Tottenham.

Spurs will require one of their big European performances for which their stadium is famed.