Tottenham 5-1 Sunderland - Spurs fight back to relief Sherwood
At times, Tim Sherwood was left bemoaning his wretched fortune. He swore on the touchline, got himself involved into tense exchanges with fans and constantly beseeched fourth official Mike Dean.
It was an arduous day for the former Blackburn midfielder, having awoken to rife speculation over his future. Daniel Levy is believed to be dissatisfied with recent results, with Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino and Netherlands coach Louis Van Gaal lurking perilously.
Yet, Sherwood is not one to hide away in these dark, nascent days of managerial career. At one point, supporters criticized Danny Rose for an over-hit pass, and Sherwood responded plainly. "You're to support him", he said. "F*****g encourage him".
The victory's resemblance on the Premier League table will inevitably be over-shadowed, as Spurs moved into sixth above Manchester United and five points adrift of the coveted Champions League spot.
Christian Eriksen was the architect of this deserved victory. The Dane supplied Emmanuel Adebayor and Harry Kane with majestically wicked crosses before driving home a goal of his own.
While he may have six more matches in charge at the Lane, Sherwood will have surely left his legacy. His promotion of youth, vindicated by Kane's goal and generally impressive display, should be appreciated by Daniel Levy. His expertise to nurture promising midfielder Nabil Bentaleb is definitely a long-lasting benefit of his reign. Young Serb defender Milos Veljkovic even came on for his first-team debut, as Spurs coasted to an ultimately comfortable win.
They were made to dig-in to over-turn Lee Cattermole's farcial first goal for Sunderland, a common mantra heard frequently around the Lane. It had resonated with the supporters at first, but now Sherwood was feeling the pressure.
Tottenham showed some early promise. Eriksen's effort, seemingly a wayward cross, alarmed Mannone, eventually striking the crossbar with the help of Mannone's fingertips.
Whoever is at the helm next season will be tasked with improving this horribly porous Spurs back-line. Vlad Chriches, starting for the first time in two months, rushed his throw-in to Lloris, whose pass back to the Romanian captain was equally uncertain. Chiriches searched for Kaboul with a ball struck with more pace than required and Cattermole gleefully latched onto the shockingly mis-placed pass, finishing excellently into the bottom right hand corner. He wheeled away awkwardly in celebration, having been deprived of a Sunderland goal despite his 100+ appearances for the club.
Spurs were rewarded for increase in urgency and purpose ten minutes later. After Mannone had superbly thwarted Kane and Naughton's forceful drive had drifted inches wide, the hosts duly found the breakthrough. Eriksen was the creator, intelligently working space for himself before whipping in a wicked cross. Adebayor lurked in-behind Brown and Vergini before making his move, guiding the ball home with a hint of his arm, as shown by the replays.
Eriksen was lively. The Dane's low cross sparked scenes of confusion, with Bardsley extremely not to have turned the ball into his own net under the intimidating attentions of Paulinho.
Sherwood was once again at the centre of attention following the break, berating fourth official Mike Dean following Lee Mason's unsure refusal of a spot-kick. Kane had gone down under the challenge of Cuellar, with the Spaniard seemingly tripping the Spurs youngster with his right foot. Sherwood proceeded to look at a nearby laptop in the press box and continue to beseech Dean. His verdict was obvious.
Relief besieged the previously anxious Lane. Eriksen was key again, with Kane getting goal-side of Brown to guide home his tremendous delivery.
Then arrived Eriksen's wholly deserved goal. The Dane touch a touch and then fired, albeit with the aid of Bardsley's leg, past the despaired reach of the helpless Mannone.
Tottenham proceeded to add to Gus Poyet's salted pain. After Kane's effort had been stifled by the outstanding Mannone, Adebayor got onto the scoresheet with a simple side-footed finish. Sigurdsson's tap-in capped off hugely gratifying evening for the hosts.
Sherwood can breathe again.
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