Tim Sherwood has been pushing his credentials as Spurs manager again. With all the signs pointing to a summer exit, this may be more an attempt to tout himself for other jobs rather than to keep hold of his current position. A minority of fans have taken up his cause, seizing on some fantastic sounding statistics. It’s quite hard to argue against them but any attempt to paint Sherwood’s reign as a big success has to be questioned.
Sherwood points to his league record as evidence, and he’s right, the numbers make impressive reading. His 12 wins from 20 league games give him a win percentage of 60%, the highest of any top flight manager in Spurs’ history. A Premier League table consisting only of games since he took charge would have Spurs in the much coveted fourth place, crucially ahead of Arsenal. However, Tottenham would only lead by a point from their north London rivals who have had poor second half to their season, and an improving Everton.
(Note: Statistics from MyFootballFacts.com)
It would be a mistake to read too much into these statistics:
- 20 games is far too small a sample size
- These figures ignore cup matches where Sherwood’s win percentage (25%) is the lowest of any Spurs manager since the Second World War.
- Just looking at win percentages masks some chastening defeats against the top three: 5-1, 4-0 and 4-0
- He inherited a team with some very good players, so he should be winning matches. When he took over, Spurs were only five points off fourth and eight off the top of the league. AVB took Spurs to their highest points tally in the Premier League just last season.
- Other statistics tell a different story. Spurs have committed 20 defensive errors that have lead to them conceding a goal. The next worse is Liverpool with 12. One or two mistakes can be put down to individuals, but so many indicate a systematic problem, whether it’s bad organisation, coaching or picking players in the wrong positions.
- Spurs have been lucky to pick up points in several games, including last weekends win at Stoke.
- A combination of Lloris and Eriksen has often saved Tottenham, when otherwise we have been outplayed.
Most of all, the performances on the pitch tell a very different story. The defence has looked badly organised. Spurs have frequently lost the midfield battle. Morale has looked low, with talk of dressing room arguments, twitter spats and players looking disinterested and not properly focused. Tottenham’s play has often been uninspiring and lacking in direction.
This is not to say that Sherwood hasn’t had his moments. The win at Newcastle, bringing back Adebayor and introducing Harry Kane are some examples that come to mind. In the context of a new manager lacking in experience, he has done well, but a club with Tottenham’s ambitions should not settle for a novice learning on the job.
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