After sacking Andre Villas-Boas as their manager, Tottenham turned to youth academy coach Tim Sherwood. Relatively unknown to the managerial world, Sherwood and his club have hit the ground running, picking up 17 of a possible 24 points and within reach of a top four finish to the season.
But how exactly has Sherwood changed Spurs, since his appointment? Let's take a look:
While the AVB era at spurs was reminiscent of Mourinho's first stint at Chelsea, with defensive-minded approaches leading to a low goal tally, Sherwood's Spurs have opened up their style of play having switched to a 4-4-2, the same formation run by Harry Redknapp during Tottenham's last trip to the Champions League.
Instead of parking the bus and relying on counter-attacking play, Spurs have sought to hold possession and systematically break down their opposition, similar to the approach instituted by Manuel Pellegrini at Man City. With both full-backs marauding down the flanks and a two striker approach, Spurs are now attacking their opponents from all angles, a welcome sight to fans at White Hart Lane.
One of the most notable decisions made by the new Tottenham boss was in player management. Re-integrating Emmanuel Adebayor into the first team has reaped massive rewards, with the Togolese striker netting 5 times since his return to play.
Another consistent piece in Sherwood's 4-4-2 has been 19 year old Nabil Bentaleb, a former youth academy player. While yet to score, he has been a strong presence in the middle of the park, with over a 90% pass rate and a key stopgap in a squad hit with injuries to players such as Paulinho and Sandro. Add in the growth of Harry Kane and patience with the struggling Roberto Soldado and Spurs finally have consistency in their starting XI.
Although the tactical approach of AVB was successful in the 2012-2013 season, Sherwood's trademark has been his openness in play, allowing players the freedom to rotate freely in play and best tailor to their individual talents.
While the same approach can lead to lackadaisical play (as it did in the case of Redknapp), Sherwood is allowing his players to simply enjoy playing while doing what they do best, and it is producing positive results. It will be interesting to see whether this approach has long-term feasibility with a chairman in Daniel Levy who is so concerned about immediate success.
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