Did Tim Sherwood Have A Game Plan For Tottenham Against Benfica?


Tim Sherwood [Photo: Alan Hill]The Tottenham team appeared to have no obvious game plan or tactics against Benfica last night in their Europa League defeat. Tim Sherwood seems to be at a loss as to how to get the individual players working as an effective team which can turn the season around.

Tim Sherwood stepped up to replace Andre Villas-Boas and spoke of passion, attacking football, players expressing themselves on the pitch with freedom and the Tottenham way. He tried being ‘Mr Nice-Guy’ and brought Emmanuel Adebayor back into the team and early indications suggested that everything appeared to be lovely in the White Hart Lane garden.

With recent performances and results being very disappointing, after last weekend’s defeat he became ‘Mr Nasty’ and let his thoughts on the players’ attitude and application be known through his post-match press interview but there was little indication in the game against Benfica that much has changed.

Benfica were too good for a Tottenham team which lacked shape, direction and style. The Portuguese team played with the patience, composure and confidence that has been lacking from Spurs all season.

Commenting after the Benfica game, Sherwood was reported by BBC Sport saying,

"I’ve got no problem with the attitude or desire. It’s just we have to hold our hands up and say they’re a class above."

We frequently criticised Andre Villas-Boas for having no Plan ‘B’ but Tim Sherwood doesn’t appear to have any plan. The team is constantly changed, the players’ roles within the team are unclear and for all his initial talk of attacking football rarely do we trouble opposing teams. The team is so lacking in confidence and understanding as a unit that every match is littered with poor passes, individual mistakes and misunderstandings between players. Even Kyle Walker and Aaron Lennon who have played together for the past three seasons and have developed a good partnership, have failed to link up as an attacking force on the right. At present Spurs are playing as 11 individuals and not as a team.

In a tweet after last night’s game, Adam Priest summed up perfectly the current situation at Spurs.

There has been a problem all season with Spurs, in that, following the departure of Gareth Bale, and with 7 new players arriving at the Lane, no-one has been sure of Tottenham’s best team or formation. It was never clear that AVB knew it and Tim Sherwood certainly doesn’t. Every new signing expected to be in the team, every international wanted to be in the team to make sure that they were getting the chance to prove that they should be included in their country’s World Cup squad for the summer. With injuries and the constant changes, in trying to keep everyone on board, there has never been a settled team. Players have not developed an understanding of playing together – we expected that to take time but by March there should be some sign of team work developing.

Teams no longer fear Tottenham. For the past few seasons, there was the Bale-factor which covered many failings last season and made teams cautious when playing against Spurs. The magic moments he produced turned draws to wins and defeats to draws. That has gone and Spurs are going backwards with another major overhaul in the offing.

Last night Shaun tweeted,

The fact that none of the 7 summer signings started last weekend’s game at Chelsea indicates the state Spurs are in at present – £100m spent on new players but none made it into the team, even allowing for four of them being out injured.

Unfortunately, it looks as if we’re going to have more disappointments like this before it gets better. March was always going to be a crucial time in the season and so it’s proving and there’s still 4 games to go.

Related Article:

Fans’ Views On What’s Wrong with SpursRead more