Sherwood: Benfica boss lacked class

14 March 2014 06:16

Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood had no problem with his players' desire in the Europa League defeat to Benfica, but was far from happy with "classless" counterpart Jorge Jesus.

The Spurs boss criticised his team for showing a lack of character in Saturday's embarrassing 4-0 defeat to rivals Chelsea, but had no such complaints after their latest loss.

Benfica impressed at White Hart Lane as they won the last-16 first-leg tie 3-1, with a Luisao brace complementing Rodrigo's first-half strike, rendering Christian Eriksen's superb free-kick a mere consolation.

It makes Spurs' hopes of reaching the quarter-finals remote, but Sherwood had no complaints about the end result or his players.

"No problem with the desire and effort there," said the Tottenham manager, whose side face rivals Arsenal on Sunday.

"That's what I questioned and asked for, that's what I asked for. We've got to see it over a consistent basis and carry on going so I've got no complaints about that.

"We'll have a go [in the second leg], we'll do our best. They were better than us, weren't they? They were better than us.

"They had a lot of attacking threat. They weren't great in the first half and they had one shot which went in, a blow, and then we got done on two set-pieces.

"That's a disappointment, but we haven't opened them up. It's a blow. 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."

While impressed by a Benfica side now unbeaten in 24 matches, he was far from happy with their coach Jesus.

The pair argued throughout the match and the Portuguese showed three fingers to Sherwood after Luisao made it 3-1, antagonising the Spurs boss at the end of a match in which they did not shake hands.

"I thought his team were very good and showed a lot of class - it's just a shame he didn't," Sherwood said.

"In the first two minutes he was coming over to the fourth official saying I was stepping in his box.

"He doesn't mind himself, does he, to be fair? Waving goodbye like that [with three fingers]? It lacks class. Why would anyone do that?

"He's got a good side, of course he has, but, nah, not for me thank you. I have no intention of speaking to him."

Sherwood was clearly furious but Jesus downplayed the incident, insisting the three-fingered gesture referred to the goalscorer Luisao.

"I was saying: 'number three, Luisao, number three," he said. "Maybe here in England the benches are too close together, compared to in Portugal.

"In Portugal, we have more space apart and we can demonstrate ourselves in our own way.

"When at some stage I invaded Tim Sherwood's personal space, he told me to go to mine. He did the same to me. But it was no more than that, it was quite pleasant in the end."

Jesus was not overly concerned if Sherwood had felt disrespected - "that's his own problem if he felt like that" - and insisted Spurs were by no means out of the tie heading into next week's second leg.

"It was not such an easy win, although we scored three goals and that's a big score," he said.

"We did play quite well and efficiently, we did well defensively and scored three great goals. We are at an advantage, but it's only half-time in this game.

"From previous matches, Tottenham have proved they are more dangerous playing away from home than at home."

Source: PA