Tim Sherwood replaced a manager who led his team to a 5-0 loss at home to Liverpool, drastically altered Tottenham Hotspur's style of play and has guided them to fifth place, level on points with that Liverpool side who crushed his team before he took over. On Sunday, he adjusted his formation to accommodate in-form personnel and match up well against his opposition, resulting in a 3-1 win over Swansea. It's tough to complain about anything Tim Sherwood's doing at the moment.
But it's worth a reminder that he was nowhere near the first choice for the job. About a half-dozen qualified candidates were rumored to be contacted, including Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal, who admitted he's still interested in the job post-World Cup.
"I have refused (the Tottenham job) but maybe there will come another chance. That is the difficulty with coaching. When you are free, then maybe there are no vacancies. When you are working, then there are vacancies. It is always difficult. After the World Cup I shall retire or, if there is a Premier League club, I shall think about it ... I want to work in the Premier League because that is the league I have not worked in yet. I want to coach here in the Premier League because I think Spain, Germany and England are the strongest competitions. That is an ambition and who knows."
Sherwood seems to be well aware of the fact that he was not his employer's first choice and that they'll be looking around at more experienced coaches again at the end of the season.
"Yes, anything other than [top four] is going to be a disappointment. If the season were to end tomorrow, I don't think the chairman [Daniel Levy] would be too happy because we're fifth. The final league position has to meet the expectation of the club, otherwise it's 'goodbye Charlie' ... Realistically, we should be in and amongst it but it's not easy is it? There's a lot of top teams in there and no-one seems to be giving any leeway. I keep looking at the results thinking 'surely they're going to drop points here today' and they don't seem to be doing it. It's going to go right down to the wire - it's about keeping that consistency and belief."
Everyone's thrilled with Sherwood at the moment and Sunday's match has a lot of previous doubters thinking that he can adapt his tactics based on the situation better than they thought. There's no reason to believe that Tottenham aren't legitimate challengers for fourth place, but Sherwood's job will remain on the line for the rest of the season.
Sherwood has an 18-month contract, but it's not going to cost Tottenham an exorbitant amount of money to terminate him this summer. Daniel Levy has fired a manager who finished fourth before, and he fired one that achieved the club's record points total before Sherwood was hired.
The new boss needs to deliver Champions League football to keep his job and he knows it. Right or wrong, at least he's embracing the reality and tackling it head-on.
- Monday Morning Community Hoddle of Coffee: Tottenham Hotspur news and links January 20, 2014
- Swansea City vs. Tottenham Hotspur: Final score 1-3, Spurs up to fifth
- Swansea v. Tottenham: lineups and match thread
- Ligue 1 attacker rumored to make Premier League return with Tottenham Hotspur
- Younes Kaboul and Jan Vertonghen return to training