Petulant and belittling
An early afternoon kick-off at White Hart Lane can equally be a positive or negative. Positive because you've got the rest of the day free to get on with your life and negative because if we lose you've got the rest of the day to fester in mental agony, with the addition of an extra couple of hours of torment to prolong the hellish aftermath.
Thankfully it's all smiles.
Well, sort of all smiles. Okay, so it's a frown. Just a stupid frown dominating our stupid faces. God forbid Spurs win a game and we enjoy the moment in its purest form. What happened to those halcyon days of yore?
Levy. Baldini. Bale. £100M. AVB. Sherwood.
Let's do the smiley bit first then. Followed by the frown.
Three goals, three points. Two brilliant deliveries from dead-ball positions from Christian Eriksen gifting both Paulinho and Younes Kaboul easy finishes and Aaron Lennon with another assist finding the head of Harry Kane. Strange how Eriksen hasn't quite mastered the same whip with his corners. Not too worry. Five assists and four goals in five games. Keep that up and I might fall in love.
Hugo Lloris entertained with a brilliant save, tipping the ball over the bar from Hugo Rodallega's header and also stopping Steve Sidwell's average attempt from the penalty spot. Was also at his best early in the game to deny Rodallega with his left arm, blocking the effort.
Spurs never really out of second gear, maybe because they don't know how to drive fast or just prefer to cruise. Risky considering Fulham were the only team on the day with something to play for.
We don't do self-pride at the moment. Turn up, might turn it on, might turn them over. Always thought the amount of quality we posses means we have the upper hand on most in the Prem, save the ones above us. If we had a plan we'd be more comfortable dispatch the likes of Fulham and might even compete when facing up to a top four side.
The only disappointing aspects (of a footballing nature) was conceding after a minute or so of going a goal up, with Zeki Fryers pushing the ball into Sidwell's path for the Fulham player to bring his side level. How many goals from errors now? Our defence has less shape than a melting ice cube.
Post-match Tony Parks had animated words with Danny Rose as the Spurs player departed towards the tunnel. Might have had something to do with Rose not picking up his marker after Fulham made changes.
Spurs are still in touch with the chase for 4th but it's an illusion of mathematics rather than a possibility. Even when winning a game the headlines will be dominated by what's happened elsewhere. As ever, this season of persistent unnecessary deflection continues to drill its way through our brains.
So what's the latest story arc in the life of THFC? It involves our coach, naturally. It involves the monster rather than Frankenstein himself. Pitchfork and fire comes by way of the baying Lilywhite public.
So what of our coach? This is the frown bit.
Tim Sherwood isn't a football manager. It's akin to cloning another human being and growing him to the age of thirty within moments of his genetically enhanced conception. Then expecting him to know exactly how to behave and interact with the world around him.
Regardless of the politics of opportunity that found him given an 18 month contract, he has only reactionary ability to protect himself with. His job previously with the academy and development squad was in no way top tier preparation for leading a top side in the Premier League. He's a chancer, he's got big balls to take the job on considering it's ugly enough to bury him (it's buried more experienced managers). The job has however proved too ugly to control and his fast-track approach has taken him beyond the point of no return.
Had he just been made interim, had he simply taken the responsibility knowing it would be someone else's at the end of it all, then perhaps there would have been a level of sincerity for all concerned - fans, players and Sherwood. Instead its fractured faster than you can say 'Erik Lamela isn't injured...oh wait, yes he is, oops'. That 18 month contract, the bravado of wanting the job and not the caretaker role is why it's soiled an already rotten season.
Sherwood is trying too hard to be the manager he wants to become. Too many words shared, too much emphasis on making sure everyone knows what he's thinking and what his opinions are. Too busy talking about Tottenham and our players like someone on any given blog or forum would do. Not enough protection of what he is meant to be representing. Too much finger pointing. Too much of the blame game. He's meant to be a football manager but gives the impression he's a consultant, a troubleshooter with a paid up contract that isn't reliant on the end result and the freedom to slate all of the players available for his selection. If and when he knows who to select.
To be fair to him, there wasn't really a job there to take. Some might have believed the season was salvageable immediately after Andre Villas-Boas left the club. If it was, it wasn't the moment Sherwood was promoted. Franken...Daniel Levy and his timing (and the timing of the implosion) meant everyone at the club looked ahead towards the summer and agreed to sacrifice the remainder of the season.
The players, as citied in earlier articles, are fragile minded folk. They need a leader, they need to fear failure. They need to combine their collective determination and fight as a team. Instead we fight within against each other.
So what of these players?
Sandro earlier in the day (on match-day) informed all via Twitter (the bastion of truth and fairness) that he wasn't injured and also not in the squad. Cue a near epic meltdown and conspiracy theories about his absence and the likely disarray and disharmony within the squad.
Then during the post-match interview in BT Sports coverage of the game Tim Sherwood was asked about the tweet. His eyes watered up a little, possibly containing his anger or controlling his surprise whilst he responded.
This is the problem at Tottenham - it's all about the individuals and not about the team. There's a lack of respect by all involved. It's a school with no headmaster, just a PE teacher failing to control his pupils who are causing strife whilst wearing only their y-fronts because they forgot their kit at home.
There has been constant fragmentation with the coach (be it Sherwood or Andre Villas-Boas) and certain players since the start of the season. It comes back to leadership, it's non-existent off the pitch and on it. If you're Sandro and you're frustrated or just plain confused for being completely dropped knowing you are fit and ready to play then in this day and age of instant electronic sharing of emotions you might go ahead and do just that. It's hardly the most professional of decisions. It's petulant from the player who is probably playing tit for tat when looking back at some of the belittling comments Sherwood has made about the squad. His squad. Except it's not really his squad.
Sherwood, on the defensive (during the interview on BT), stated that Sandro wasn't in the team because he isn't good enough at this moment in time and that he only selects players that are. A dig or a truth bomb? Sandro has hardly set the world on fire but then again he's hardly played football thanks to injury so would it perhaps not suit the situation best to state... "he isn't quite back to the Sandro of old and as for the tweet, it's a passionate game and he's obviously frustrated but he's top drawer as proven last season (and how much we missed him when he was injured) and he'll back in the squad as a key player for sure in the games ahead and next season..." etc etc
It's obviously easier to write that out than to say it live on TV. But then had he said that he would not have been relaying his belief that Sandro isn't a viable option for him at the moment.
Sandro hasn't been on great form when fit to play but still, publicly admitting this will either be perceived as being too honest or suggest Sherwood is prioritising self-preservation of ego. If you're asked a question that hits you hard do you take it or do you wait for the next one and duck and dance? Sherwood looked rattled and just came back biting. Someone with more experience might have handled it better, a case of protecting the club and then dealing with the matter in-house. Then again if this was The Special One, he'd be lauded for it. Jose might be more miserable than ever these-days but history stipulates he has the right to be arrogant (even though he was embarrassing post-Sunderland defeat and his arrogance stinks).
Sandro shared facts. He did so for his own protection and ego and to make sure everyone knew something isn't quite right. Sherwood made sure there was no ambiguity with those facts with regards to why the Brazilian wasn't in the squad. Afterwards Sandro tweeted again this time stating 'lol' three times which leaves no room for ambiguity at all and is a prime example that going rouge and declaring detachment from the coach is an all too easy choice for some at the moment. Do your talking on the pitch. If you can get there.
All of this amplifies the lack of unity. On the one hand you've got Adebayor saluting Tim and on the other you've got Sandro laughing out loud and Eriksen giving off shabby body language when Sherwood's name is mentioned and so on, the season is littered with fractions of discontent.
The irony in all this is that Sherwood has been very critical of Spurs players recently. The belittlement. Some have hardly excelled this season but let's face it, the White Hart Lane environment has hardly been one of certifiable encouragement.
Some of these players have bitten back. Sherwood persistently talks like he's on the outside looking in and this can only be creating a culture of distance between him and his players from one game to the next. It probably has a lot more to do with the fact that the players and Sherwood himself are now utterly bored of what's going on and just have nothing better to do than prolong the agony we experience.
Seems like we did get that extra couple of hours of torment to prolong a hellish aftermath after all.
A coach shouldn't be making enemies of his players and players shouldn't feel the necessity to undermine their governor. In the actual post-match press conference, Sherwood defused it completely. More or less said the same thing he said in the BT interview but with more composure thanks to the preparation of mindset knowing the question would come up again.
I made my own comment on Twitter today stating with hefty sarcasm that we won the game 3-1, in case nobody was aware of it. Some took this this to mean I was somehow pro-Sherwood and that the win justifies anything the coach says or does.
I'm pro-Tottenham Hotspur. Such a shame that for a multitude of reasons I can't bask in that glory and can't be allowed to do so. Deepest apologies that this article was 90% frown and 10% smile.