The North London side's late capitulation—sped up by Younes Kaboul's 59th minute red card with the score at 1-0—severely dented the club's chances of making next season's Champions League. Sandro claims the squad didn't take such a result lightly, as reported by Neil McLeman of the Mirror:
We spent more than two hours in a meeting amongst the players and we said what we had to say. Everyone was shouting. Every player had their fair share to say, let’s put it this way. We all spoke amongst ourselves.
The manager said the same thing to us as what he said to the press. We had our meeting post-match - sometimes one player got a bit more stressed out and we tried to calm him down and talk in a nice way. We spent about two hours that way.
Will Spurs qualify for next season's Champions League?
Sandro's performance was severely hampered by Kaboul's dismissal, a decision that was eventually overturned by the FA, per Sky Sports. The Brazilian defensive midfielder, who acts as a supportive anchor in Spurs' combative centre, was forced to play centre-back for the remainder of the game.
His slip and failed clearance allowed Demba Ba to notch the first of his two goals from the bench, condemning Spurs to yet another heavy defeat against the Premier League elite. Having already suffered 6-0 and 5-1 defeats to Manchester City, as well as a 5-0 loss to Liverpool, Tim Sherwood's team have stuttered heavily during the most important encounters.
Sherwood reacted angrily after the match, blaming his players' lack of character when they are faced with difficult situations, per David Hytner of The Guardian:
Capitulations are happening too often to say that we are rock solid and blessed with so many characters. When things go against us, that's when we are going missing. More and more we need to stand up and be counted.
The Spurs boss didn't stop there. Speaking ahead of his side's Europa League clash with Benfica, he warned the club's disappointing performers that they are now playing for their future, saying he is "not a babysitter," reported by the Press Association via The Guardian:
A lot of players here are playing for their future and I think they realise that now. I'm going to have a good look at the whole squad and see who I need to keep and who I need to bring in.
They have that chance between now and the end of the season to prove they want to play for a giant club like Tottenham.
Sherwood's honesty is sure to have rattled a few within the club. Gary Lineker, former Spurs striker and current Match of the Day host, suggested the manager should stop criticising players in the public eye:
Fascinating, honest but ultimately, I feel, unwise public condemnation of his own players by Tim Sherwood. Private, always the best way.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) March 12, 2014
There is no quicker way to lose the confidence and trust of your players than to slag them off publicly.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) March 12, 2014
Spurs now face a run of huge fixtures across two weeks, the results of which will determine how their season is going to pan out.
After the showdown with Benfica comes a Premier League derby against Arsenal, before Spurs head out to Portugal for their second-leg fixture with Jorge Jesus' side. Southampton are then welcomed to White Hart Lane, before Spurs travel to Anfield to face Liverpool on March 30.
Sherwood must have full support from his players if Spurs are going to wade through this period in positive fashion. The inexperienced boss will hope his public comments spark a fire in his players' bellies, rather than making them feel angry toward his reign.
The struggling side certainly needs a hasty reaction if this season is to produce success, and indeed, if Sherwood is to remain in charge beyond the summer.