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Manager Watch: Mourinho vs. Guardiola

Manager Watch
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Sherwood: Gareth Bale bargain for Real

LONDON -- Tottenham head coach Tim Sherwood has claimed that Gareth Bale may turn out to be a bargain signing for Real Madrid, if he helps the Spanish club to be crowned as European champions for a tenth time next month.

Fitch: Sherwood's future
Jolly: Spurs still searching
Hunter: Real got best of Bale deal
Rigg: Bale "Prince of Wales"

Bale won his first trophy as a Real Madrid player on Wednesday as his late goal sealed a Copa del Rey win against Barcelona and he could add the Spanish league and Champions League to his list of honours before the season is finished.

Sherwood insisted he is not surprised by Bale’s success in Spain since his world-record 86 million pound move from Tottenham last summer, as he claimed the fee received for the Welsh winger was reasonable for his talents.

"His fee looks cheap now," Sherwood told reporters. "If he is going to deliver them the European Cup, which it looks like he might, then that looks good business [for Madrid].

"He's a freak of nature. When he was running on the track to score his goal against Barcelona he ran past three old ladies eating a hamburger, came back on the pitch and was still fastest to the ball. It was an incredible goal.

"I'm not surprised by how he has dealt with it at Real Madrid. The boy is married to the game and he has got talent to spare, but it was not a case of us wondering what might have been if he was still here now. I think to be fair, he wanted to go there. Once a player wants to go, it is very difficult to keep him."

Sherwood went on to case an envious eye over the riches Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has to work with at the Bernabeu, as he suggested he has a dream job with the superstars at his disposal.

"If you are Ancelotti, you must sleep easy at night," added Sherwood with a smile. "He goes to bed and thinks, who are we playing tomorrow. Well, it doesn't really matter because we have Gareth and Ronaldo fit, we have Isco in there and Xabi Alonso doing what he does. The defenders stay where they are and we will win three or four nil.

"Much as he will take credit for possibly winning the Champions League, it’s got to be an easier job than what Tony Pulis has done at Crystal Palace this season."

Tottenham spent a large chunk of the money they received for the sale of Bale on Argentine youngster Erik Lamela, yet Sherwood has again insisted the injured starlet will not play again for the club this season despite reports to the contrary.

A report on Wednesday in the Daily Telegraph suggested Sherwood was coming "under pressure" from club officials to play Lamela as he closes in on a return to fitness, but the Spurs boss was quick to dismiss that notion.

“There is no chance Erik’s fit,” stressed Sherwood. “I read in the paper, or someone told me, that the hierarchy here are asking for him to get more opportunities. Chance would be a fine thing, he’s injured.”

Sherwood went on to praise the performances of Lewis Holtby since his loan move to Fulham in January, ahead of Saturday’s Premier League game against the Cottagers at White Hart Lane.

“I think he’s been good for them,” said Sherwood of Holtby, who is ineligible to play against his parent club this weekend. “It’s good that he’s played some games in the Premier League so it will benefit Tottenham next year.

“The last thing we wanted to do was to keep him here and for him not to play, and I think that all of the new signings -- the seven of them -- will improve and get better, and next year they’ll be better players for having the experience of playing, but they have to play to get that experience.”

As speculation continues over Sherwood’s future, he went on to reflect on Fulham’s decision to change their manager three times this season.

“I think continuity helps,” he added. “The only place where you would probably argue it doesn’t is if you’ve got a zillion pounds like Chelsea and Man City and you can keep churning round your managers and your players. But I think giving someone a bit of time probably helps.”

Mousa Dembele is set to return for Tottenham against his former club, with Sherwood reporting no other players are due back ahead of the London derby.

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