• Europa League

Players are behind me, says Sherwood

ESPN staff
March 21, 2014
Tim Sherwood was encouraged by his Tottenham players' display after losing to Benfica

Tim Sherwood claims his players proved they are fully behind him after Tottenham fell just short in their bid to complete a remarkable turnaround and reach the Europa League quarter-finals.

Following the 3-1 first leg defeat to Benfica at White Hart Lane, the tie ended 5-3 on aggregate though Tottenham were one goal away from forcing extra time in the second leg on Thursday night before conceding a late to draw 2-2.

Sherwood publicly questioned his players' character after a 4-0 defeat by Chelsea earlier in March, accusing them of "lacking guts", but he had no such complaints in Lisbon.

"People speculated, didn't they?" he said. "I read a lot of things saying now you need those players on your side.

"It's evident they're on my side and the side of the club. They fight for the cause and my little rant, if you want to call it one, has done them no harm.

"They have showed real character and real guts and they need to do that until the end of the season, because we've got some tough games ahead and I'm confident they will do that.''

Lineker told to lay off Soldado

  • Tim Sherwood last night hit out at Gary Lineker over his Twitter swipe at Tottenham striker Roberto Soldado.
  • Following Spurs' European exit, Match of the Day host Lineker tweeted: "Soldado makes me realise I wasn't that s***."
  • However Sherwood responded: "Robbie needs as much help as he can get, so give him a bit of slack.
  • "I never followed Gary's playing career too closely. I'm not sure if he had a barren spell but it doesn't help."
  • Sherwood had also come under fire from former Spurs striker Lineker for criticising his squad in public after the 4-0 defeat to Chelsea.

Sherwood watched the second leg from the Estadio da Luz's directors' box in a bid to avoid another confrontation with Benfica counterpart Jorge Jesus.

The pair quarrelled throughout last week's match, which ended in them not shaking hands after Jesus showed Sherwood three fingers when Luisao made it 3-1.

"I just wanted to get a better view up there and maybe take some steam out of the situation,'' Sherwood said. "It was about what our boys could do against their boys on the pitch.

"Obviously there was a flare-up between me and their manager last week and I didn't want that to take away from what we did on the pitch. The concentration was on the pitch and we played better than them.

"Congratulations to him, he's got the chance to wave his fingers at a few more managers in this competition.''

Sherwood also felt substitute Harry Kane should have been awarded a penalty with the score at 2-1 after being bundled over late on.

"Sometimes you get them and sometimes you don't and at the moment we're not getting them,'' Sherwood said. "We had them where we wanted them. They were running scared, weren't they?

"It was good to see their manager sweating. I did not see a suave character on the side, I saw someone who was really flustered, which was good to see. That is what we intended to do and that is what we achieved.

"Credit to Benfica, they go through over two legs. You have to say the one that scores the most goals deserves to go through. But for us, the 3,000 travelling fans from London must be proud of what they saw.

"The boys are very proud about what the fans have done for them tonight as they stuck behind them, travelling in numbers, and the boys have put on a performance which they can go and be proud of.''

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