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Tottenham Manager Tim Sherwood’s Tactical Changes Outwit David Moyes

Tim Sherwood’s management style is evolving game by game. Today with the inevitable onslaught expected from Manchester United, the untested Spurs boss made two very curious tactical changes that perhaps showed his growth and bravery as a manager.

Ahead by a goal in the 64th minute, Sherwood brought on the highly-touted youngster Nabil Bentaleb in a holding midfield role. Bentaleb responded very well, positioning himself well and showing excellent covering skills when left-back Danny Rose bombed forward.

In minute 75, Sherwood brought on Harry Kane, who has spent more time on loan than on the pitch for Spurs over the past few seasons. Kane replaced the gassed Roberto Soldado. And on Twitter, many people, myself included, expressed horror about Kane’s insertion in the side.

But Kane and Sherwood got the last laugh. The young Tottenham striker held the ball up well late on in the match and helped to relieve the pressure on Tottenham’s defense, which was building to a boiling point.

Sherwood doesn’t have the PowerPoint presentations, flip charts or coaching badges that indicate tactical savvy the way his predecessor Andre Villas-Boas did. But based on the early returns, ten points in four Premier League matches, he does understand man management and also has a keen sense of which youth products can contribute to Tottenham’s cause.

One of Villas-Boas tasks was to integrate players from Tottenham’s excellent youth setup into the side. He did well with Andros Townsend and Danny Rose, but the likes of Bentaleb and Kane could be long-term options for Sherwood. When changes mattered the most, Sherwood called on two youngsters and they came through for him.

With the victory, Spurs climbed to within two points of fourth place, and that elusive UEFA Champions League spot that has defined Chairman Daniel Levy’s thinking over the past few seasons. Not too shabby for a club that is in “crisis?”

Editor’s note: For the latest Spurs news, opinion and analysis, visit the Tottenham Hotspur team page.

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  1. justa fanathome

    January 2, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Kartik, are you having a laugh? Those changes actually made Spurs worse. United had much more of the play and chances after those subs. This is just a very poor Manchester United squad. A top 4 spot would be a huge achievement for this team.

  2. Marcos

    January 2, 2014 at 12:50 am

    This is a good piece on how Spurs are getting good results by playing to their (significant) talent’s (significant) variety of strengths. MU’s relative lack of quality was stark and striking. There were individual battles of strength, speed and skill all over OT. Except in goal, MU was thoroughly exposed as a team of role-players and projects who wouldn’t get more than mop-up FA Cup minutes on any of the teams above them in the table. It’s fair to question the past summer’s transfer strategy, but Moyes is probably getting as good as he can get out of this squad. Deep, deep problems at OT.

  3. Jason Wyse

    January 1, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Yeah, agree with the two above. I’m a big spurs supporter but I think Bentalab was not at his bast and Kane, while he worked hard made a few bad decisions that cost spurs possession.

    With that said, I believe Bentaleb came on due to Capoue not being at full fitness. I’d be curious to see a heat map before and after the Capoue change. My impression is that with Capoue on spurs forced united wider and broker up play and possession better. After the change, it seemed united tour through the middle quite easily.

    Hard to argue with the results and I will hold my judgement on Sherwood until the end of the season.

  4. insert name here

    January 1, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    I dont see what the big deal on twitter would be about bringing on Kane. He is a good young player and, as the article says, Soldado was “gassed” so why would you be aghast ??? In sayin that tho I dont think the subs had much bearing on the game. Sherwood tho is a brave attackin coach and has gotten off to a crackin start. Id like to see him (or any manager) do well with that brand of footy and it suits Spurs better than AVBs more cautionary style even if AVB wasnt near as bad as the horror shows v Liverpool and Citeh made him look. Good to see Sherwood playin the yth players too.

  5. Jim

    January 1, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    United actually had their best spell of the game after those 2 Spurs’ substitutions and had United scored I doubt if this article would have been written. Both Kane and Bentaleb did well but United not scoring had nothing to do with those substitutions.

    • Smokey Bacon

      January 1, 2014 at 6:17 pm

      Could not agree more. Unfortunately this is yet another wind-up piece thinly disguised as insight. From the over the top headline to the paper thin argument.

      • IU Gonzo

        January 2, 2014 at 11:12 am

        Well, what did you expect from an unabashed City supporter?

  6. Brian D

    January 1, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    One “Manchester United stinks” article wasn’t enough? Next article to focus on how much better Tottenham’s kit man is?

    • Dust

      January 1, 2014 at 4:35 pm

      He is a far better kit man…obviously.

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