Premier League Weekend Review: Time to start taking Sherwood seriously

Sherwood is proving he is more than bluster, says Ralph Ellis
Sherwood is proving he is more than bluster, says Ralph Ellis

Tim Sherwood's antics as Tottenham manager made him a figure of fun in certain quarters but after the Aston Villa manager guided his new team to victory at White Hart Lane on Saturday, it's time to give him real credit, argues Ralph Ellis...

"Perhaps the biggest fallout from beating Spurs, however, is that Sherwood’s players can head to Wembley and the FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool with confidence to match their manager’s. They are 6.05/1 to win in 90 minutes, and that suddenly looks an attractive punt."

It's an odd thing, blowing your own trumpet. Jose Mourinho called himself "The Special One" and has carried the tag since as a mark of respect - Tim Sherwood keeps banging on about his Tottenham record and attracts hoots of derision.

From the moment he got the Spurs job last year he was never shy about talking up his achievements. You'd have to be the man from Mars not to know he has the best win ratio of any Tottenham manager of modern times and that he launched Harry Kane into the first team (ed: strangely, the player he deserves real credit for - Nabil Bentaleb - doesn't get much of a mention).

The self publicity didn't stop after he got the shove from White Hart Lane, either. He was favourite for almost every significant management vacancy, and you suspect he did little to dampen any of the rumours.

Since finally getting a job at Aston Villa he's not been shy, either. The gilet flinging, the runs up and down the touchline, the emotional after match interviews both high and low have shouted "me, me, me" at almost every turn.

It's an approach that has rubbed a few people up the wrong way. Gary Lineker sarcastically asked him about his win ratio on a Match of the Day interview - and one of the internet virals of the weekend had him claiming credit for being involved at the birth of Grand National winner Many Clouds.

But is it now time to start taking Tim seriously? Whatever the Spurs fans who still cringe at his reign might think, he's starting to prove that he has got what it takes to be a proper Premier League manager.

Villa were a club on the road to relegation when he walked through the door. Paul Lambert had evolved a team that seemed to play 852 passes to get to the edge of its own 18-yard box then gave the ball and a goal away.

Sherwood has taken the same players, and got them working to their strengths. He was mocked when he said Christian Benteke and Gabby Agbonlahor were the best strike pair outside the top four, but Benteke now has eight goals in six games and Agbonlahor is troubling defences with his pace in a way that he hasn't done since Martin O'Neill first put him in the team.

Matched at even money to be relegated during the last days of Lambert's reign, Villa are now 13.012/1 with a six point safety margin. But the biggest transformation Sherwood has made is in the team's ability to score goals. Once matched at 1.051/20 to be the Team to Score Least goals, the price now is 1.84/5.

Benteke's winner at White Hart Lane made it 16 from the 10 games in all competitions since Lambert left - before then they had scored just 15 from 28.

Perhaps the biggest fallout from beating Spurs, however, is that Sherwood's players can head to Wembley and the FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool with confidence to match their manager's. They are 6.05/1 to win in 90 minutes, and that suddenly looks an attractive punt.

Sherwood might never get the same respect handed to Mourinho. But, Special or not, he's beginning to show he is more than just talk.

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