Skip to content

A simple plan: Did Tim Sherwood’s tactics cost Tottenham on Sunday?

Feb 23, 2014, 6:55 PM EST

Is Sherwood's time up at Spurs after three months? The English manager hasn't done much wrong, according to Arlo. Getty Images

The debate about the benefits of tactical sophistication has again settled on Tottenham Hotspur, who saw a distinct change in fortunate this winter after Tim Sherwood was given the manager’s job. Forgoing an André Villas-Boas approach which, while certainly sophisticated, often seemed to stifle players, the former Spurs midfielder instilled a simpler philosophy which resulted in more freedom. The results have seen Tottenham pull itself back into the race for fourth.

But that simplicity may have resulted in naiveté today at Norwich City, however. According to The Guardian’s Michael Cox, “It was simply not clear how Spurs were attempting to breakdown the Norwich back line …”:

Norwich were unspectacular but they had an obvious game plan. The same cannot be said of Spurs under Sherwood and, though his overall impact at the club has been positive, a performance and result like this had somehow been on the cards.

Spurs were a major part of a similar, ‘how are important are these so-called tactics’ dialog before Harry Redknapp‘s departure just over two year ago. Redknapp seemed to assert a mild disdain the more complex tactical discussions that have taken hold over the last five years, even if his in-match decisions often portrayed a more nuanced tactical mind. Qualifying his team for Champions League and getting Spurs into the competition’s final eight, Redknapp seemed to land a salvo against the emerging primacy of tactics.

As Cox notes in his breakdown, on Sunday, Sherwood seemed to lack some of Redknapp’s acumen. Against a team that set up with a near-identical approach (both teams playing lone strikers, two wingers, and a three-man midfield), the new Tottenham boss was unable to orchestrate a goal. Neither his initial plans nor the substitutions he made a Carrow Road prevented an upset, one that leaves his team six points back of fourth place Liverpool.

We have three months to see how this story plays out, but this may be where Sherwood’s lack of experience comes through. Whereas the first-time boss’s approach proved refreshing in the wake of Villas-Boas, his lack of games on the sidelines may prove debilitating as Tottenham tries to claim a Champions League spot.

Latest Posts
  1. Bundesliga wrap: Wolfsburg ends Bayern’s unbeaten dreams, USMNT’s Johnson strong

    Jan 31, 2015, 4:19 PM EST

    Germany Soccer Bundesliga AP

    And to think, we’ve still a pair of Sunday matches on the slate. Let’s go through what’s done and dusted.

  2. Premier League roundup: Big wins for Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham and more

    Jan 31, 2015, 3:40 PM EST

    FBL-ENG-PR-MAN UTD-LEICESTER FBL-ENG-PR-MAN UTD-LEICESTER

    There were eight games in the PL on a busy Saturday. Here’s how it all went down with recaps, analysis and much more.

  3. Pellegrini “not happy with a point”, takes sly shots at Mourinho’s game plan

    Jan 31, 2015, 3:20 PM EST

    Chelsea v Manchester City - Premier League Getty Images

    Manchester City’s boss thought his charges were very good, but is disappointed to snare a solitary point against Chelsea.

  4. Man City’s Lampard reacts to “bit of a strange day” in return to Chelsea (video)

    Jan 31, 2015, 3:12 PM EST

    FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-MAN CITY Getty Images

    Lampard was the last player on the pitch, saluting both groups of supporters.

  5. Three things we learned from Chelsea vs. Manchester City

    Jan 31, 2015, 3:06 PM EST

    Chelsea v Manchester City - Premier League Getty Images

    What did we learn from the tense draw at Stamford Bridge? Here’s three things.

  6. Player Ratings: How did Chelsea, Manchester City’s stand-in’s fare?

    Jan 31, 2015, 2:47 PM EST

    Remy slots home the opener. AP

    Giving Chelsea and City’s players a mark out of 10.

  7. Chelsea 1-1 Manchester City: Blues maintain five-point lead atop table

    Jan 31, 2015, 2:21 PM EST

    Britain Soccer Premier League AP

    All the goal scoring came within the 41st and 45th minutes at Stamford Bridge, as City failed to cut into Chelsea’s first-place advantage.

  8. At the half: Chelsea and City level at 1 after late goals from Remy, Silva

    Jan 31, 2015, 1:21 PM EST

    Milner had a great game for City. AP

    It started off slow and tentative, but the big match between Chelsea and Manchester City is opening up

  9. David Moyes reveals his Spanish teacher is a Manchester United fan

    Jan 31, 2015, 1:04 PM EST

    Real Sociedad de Futbol v Elche FC - La Liga Getty Images

    Moyesy is learning Spanish from a Manchester United fan…

  10. Roberto Martinez hopes much-needed win “kick starts” Everton’s season

    Jan 31, 2015, 12:50 PM EST

    Hull City v Everton - Premier League Getty Images

    For the Toffees, defense is the way forward for the rest of the season.

  11. After scoring vs Burnley, Jermain Defoe feels “like I have a lot of goals left in me”

    Jan 31, 2015, 12:33 PM EST

    Sunderland v Burnley - Premier League Getty Images

    “It’s always difficult to be honest when you’ve had a long break,” Defoe said. “But I’ve had a mini-pre-season and I’m getting sharper and sharper.”

  12. Sunderland 2-0 Burnley: Defoe strikes as Black Cats win 6-point battle

    Jan 31, 2015, 12:16 PM EST

    FBL-ENG-PR-SUNDERLAND-BURNLEY Getty Images

    Sunderland now has four points breathing room from the drop zone, and three points space from Burnley.

  13. Stoke City 3-1 Queens Park Rangers: Walters’ hat trick punishes slack R’s

    Jan 31, 2015, 12:10 PM EST

    Walters grabs first career hat trick as R’s still searching for first road point.

  14. West Brom 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur: Eriksen, Kane continue to star as Spurs cruise

    Jan 31, 2015, 12:09 PM EST

    FBL-ENG-PR-WEST BROM-TOTTENHAM Getty Images

    Losses from QPR, Hull and Leicester keep West Brom three points shy of the drop zone.

  15. Liverpool 2-0 West Ham United: Coutinho shines, Sturridge scores in return

    Jan 31, 2015, 11:53 AM EST

    FBL-ENG-PR-LIVERPOOL-WEST HAM Getty Images

    Liverpool leapfrogs its opponents on the table, moving into 7th with 38 points.

  16. Watch Live: Chelsea vs. Manchester City (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Jan 31, 2015, 11:42 AM EST

    Britain Soccer Premier League AP

    Cesc Fabregas and Felipe Luis failed their fitness tests and will not be in the frame for Chelsea, while Loic Remy takes Costa’s place up top.

Featured video

Chelsea v Man City: Lampard the hero?