Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood revealed that Kenny Dalglish has been his sounding board since he accepted the challenge of becoming a Premier League manager for the first time last month.
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Sherwood was Dalglish’s inspirational captain in a Blackburn side that defied the odds to beat Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United to the 1995 Premier League title, with the bond between manager and skipper remaining strong to this day.
Ahead of this afternoon’s game at Swansea, the straight-talking Sherwood provided a fascinating insight into his footballing ideals, with his man management style heavily influencde by the methods employed by Liverpool legend Dalglish.
“When I took this job last month, I told myself not to get too high when we have a good result and that is something I learned from Kenny Dalglish,” begins Sherwood.
“Dalglish taught me a lot about the game and especially how to deal with players. Never mind about tactics, statistics or any of that stuff, you need to win in this game to survive and you need players on your side to do that.
“When I worked with Dalglish, he would never talk up a player too much. He would always say that talking a player up and telling everyone how great he is becomes a problem when they have a dip. Then you have to say how crap they are.
“He would rather keep a level keel and I think that is the right way to go and I know that from personal experience because when I first went to Blackburn and they were playing in the Championship, I had a shocker.
“Dalglish just said: ‘Wait until you see Sherwood next season when we are in the Premier League. He will be better at that level’. It made me feel great at a time when I knew I was playing rubbish and was an example of good man management.
“I have spoken to Dalglish since I took this job and he has given me some advice. He gave me confidence by saying that if anyone could do it, he felt I had a chance from knowing my mentality and how I thought about the game.
“I asked him about the pros and cons of getting into it and it is good to have someone like that to talk to. He told me it was a complete lifestyle change, everything changes and you never switch off from football when you are a manager.
“There is a lot of pressure in this kind of job. A lot of people are relying on you and you have a few sleepless nights, but I am loving it.”
Sherwood went on to defend Dalglish’s record in his second stint as Liverpool boss, even though he was replaced by Brendan Rodgers in the summer of 2012 despite leading the Reds to League Cup success.
“He would argue it did work out for him second time around at Liverpool,” stated Sherwood. “He won a trophy and they haven’t picked up too many since. The perception from the outside is he didn’t do so well, but it wasn’t easy when he went back to Liverpool.
“Not many managers are great all the time. They take the disappointment of being sacked from one job, move to the next one and stand by your beliefs and remain true to what you believe in.
“You have to accept criticism in this job as there are 36,000 opinions coming at me when we have a home game and I have to remain convinced that mine is the right one.
“All managers would like a five-year contract and a chairman to say get on with it, but if I had not won games in my first few weeks in this job, I’d be a laughing stock. I’d be getting pelters from the people behind me at the games and it wouldn’t work. This is a results business.”
Sherwood admits the emotions stirred by a win in his present job are more raw than they were during his playing days, yet he appreciates the need to secure Champions League football this season if he is to hang onto his job at Tottenham.
“When you win a game as a manager, it almost feels better than winning as a player,” he adds. “If you lose as a player, it is a team thing, but when you win as a manager, it is all about you. So take the credit when it’s going because it won’t always be like that.
“Reaching the Champions League is the Holy Grail for Tottenham and we want to go as far as we can. It comes down to whether we are consistent enough against the teams we should beat and how many points we take from the big boys in this league.”
Spurs have winger Andros Townsend available for the trip to Wales after he overcame a hamstring injury, while midfielder Sandro is also back after a spell in the treatment room.