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Sherwood issues instructions to Christian Eriksen during the 1-1 draw with West Brom.
Tim Sherwood's recalling of Emmanuel Adebayor to the Tottenham first-team fold brought with it a more attacking approach under the new manager.
Instead of deploying just one out-and-out striker—as Villas-Boas had preferred to—Sherwood decided to use Adebayor as part of a front two.
It immediately paid off with Jermain Defoe (against West Ham) and then Roberto Soldado (at Southampton) providing assists for Adebayor. In the latter game and since then, Spurs have generally benefited from having the extra option to search for.
The use of two strikers has also meant adjustments elsewhere in the team in the shape of the midfield. Spurs are now widely being recognised as playing a 4-4-2 formation.
Except, perhaps, if you ask Sherwood.
Following their 2-0 FA Cup loss to Arsenal, he and his team were derided in some quarters for their inability to resist the control exerted by the Gunners in midfield. Spurs being outnumbered with their flat four across the middle was a reason suggested by some.
"I didn't see us playing 4-4-2," Sherwood told the London Evening Standard post-match. "We just had 11 numbers on the field and tried to rotate and fill up every area of the field."
He added: "Our wide players funnelled in. I don't think we were ever two players in midfield. When the ball was on the right, Christian Eriksen tucked across into the middle."
Sherwood was not wrong in his analysis of his team's intentions, though their actual performance did not quite back up the stated plan.
Speaking to former Spur Garth Crooks on BBC Football Focus this past weekend, the Tottenham boss went into further detail about a tactical ideology that is pragmatic to say the least.
I like to play an offensive style. I like attacking players to play in attacking areas of the field and I like defenders to be responsible at the right times. I don't buy into formations too much. Players win football matches, not formations. I think that's where I try to put my point across to the players. It's not about how we set you out on the board, or on a TV screen. Its about what we're asking you to do on the field of play.
For the most part, Sherwood's approach has worked well. Spurs are scoring goals, have picked up a couple of clean sheets and most importantly are winning games. The grade cited at the top of the page is more to do with the uncertainty of how Spurs will fare tactically as the season progresses.
Sherwood trusting his players to do their designated jobs is admirable. Most of, if not all of them, are of sufficient quality that the trust is not misplaced. If enough carry on doing so Spurs will win more games than they lose.
Nonetheless, Sherwood and his coaching staff must continue to strive to prepare them for the different types of opposition that will come Spurs' way, not to mention identifying where changes need to be made in their own starting XI when form dips and others are lost to injury.