Tim Sherwood hails Spurs comeback
Tottenham head coach Tim Sherwood was full of admiration for his players after they staged a remarkable comeback victory against Southampton.
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Without a win in four matches and with the vultures circling overhead, the last thing the under-fire Spurs boss needed was to go behind to Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana strikes after 28 minutes.
However, the North Londoners did not wilt under the pressure and drew parity at White Hart Lane thanks to Christian Eriksen goals either side of half-time.
There was more to come, though, as substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson lashed home from distance in stoppage time to make it 3-2, leading his manager to dash down the touchline in celebration.
“It was a massive, massive win for us,” Sherwood said. “We know we have a tough period ahead. On paper, they look easier games after the Liverpool one, but they're the harder ones.
“When people come here with expectancy, let me tell you, it is harder to come from 2-0 down at home than 2-0 away from home. Unless you've played the game, you won't understand.
“There is an expectancy but it takes real guts, character and spirit to do that and we showed that today. Brilliant.”
Eriksen revealed after the match that a half-time “speech” buoyed the players on and it sounds like Sherwood may have used a few expletives to gee his side up.
“I can't tell you everything -- it wasn't pretty,” Sherwood said. “It wasn't ranting and raving, it was considered and it was measured what I had to say to them.
“I wanted to play a high-tempo game and press them high up the field and I didn't think we had the energy to do it. It was quite evident and I think the European midweek games take their toll.
“We always seem to finish very well but we don't start the games very well. Against a good side like Southampton, you're going to get punished and 2-0 down after 28 minutes I was dreading coming to the news conference, chaps, I have to tell you.”
Kyle Naughton was guilty of gifting the visitors their two goals, yet left the field to high praise from Sherwood after providing the assist for Eriksen's first goal and the guts he showed in kicking on.
“I want to give credit to Kyle Naughton today and I've told him there anyone can make mistakes and obviously he made two there,'' said the Spurs boss, who fumed at the lack of character shown in the recent drubbing at Chelsea. “But I tell you what everyone can't do, is stand tall and put yourself on offer in the second half of the game.
“Too often, not only Tottenham players but players around the country, people go hiding, they want to come off. He didn't want to come off, he wanted to put things right and I think he did that in the second half. I give him massive credit for that and he will only grow from that.”
Southampton counterpart Mauricio Pochettino was surprisingly calm in the postmatch news conference given his side had thrown away a two-goal lead in defeat, with his only complaint the performance of referee Anthony Taylor and his officials.
“It was not that we started well, I thought we had a very good game overall,” the Argentine said. “We were 2-0 up and controlling it, especially in the first half.
“Their first goal came from a clear foul on Dejan Lovren so that should not have been allowed to stand. Then came the equaliser, an injury to Nathaniel Clyne as well and it was a heavy punishment for the way that we played today.
“I thought that we deserved more but there were some refereeing decisions that did not go our way today and, despite that, I thought we did very well against a very good Tottenham side.”