Tottenham Hotspur got a much-needed win on Monday night, coming back from a one-goal deficit to defeat Sunderland by a decisive 5-1 margin at White Hart Lane.
Lee Cattermole made the best use of a terrible ball from Vlad Chiriches to put the visitors in front, but Man of the Match Emmanuel Adebayor converted a Christian Eriksen cross and Harry Kane would do the same to give the lead back to Spurs.
Eriksen capped his terrific night with a goal himself to put his team in firm control of this match, and Adebayor added a fourth goal just to be safe. Not content with four goals, the hosts pressed on for a fifth and found it when Gylfi Sigurdsson reacted quickest to a loose ball after a Vito Mannone save.
Including the Europa League, Tottenham had only won a single match in their last six tries, and a report from Sky Sports that manager Tim Sherwood would be replaced during the summer didn't come as a great surprise.
Sherwood was quoted in the report, as he made it clear he was focused on the task at hand, not his future:
It's not about me tonight, it's about this game. We are coming back after a disappointing result at Liverpool. We need to win this game tonight and all the focus is on the football. We need to set up a team to entertain these fans and hopefully win the game. [...]
We've worked all week on how we're going to play and it shouldn't affect the players either. We're all professional and we need to get on with the job. We have still got points to fight for here, six cup finals in my eyes and I'm sure the players see it the same way. If we can get some positive results who knows where it might take us?
Following the win over Sunderland, Sherwood was unwilling to elaborate on the report, as shared by The Sun's Twitter account:
Sherwood: "I can't comment on my employment. I set the team out well tonight. We think we can win all five of our remaining games"— The Sun - Football (@TheSunFootball) April 7, 2014
He did, however, explain he felt like he had done everything he could, given the situation:
Sherwood: "In the Premier League I've done better than any other Spurs coach. I'm doing my best in every game and I'll continue to do that"— The Sun - Football (@TheSunFootball) April 7, 2014
Sherwood: "In a perfect situation I'd have had a preseason and brought in my own players. But I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me"— The Sun - Football (@TheSunFootball) April 7, 2014
One player who did feel sorry for the coach, though, was match-winner Adebayor, who shared his gratitude with the coach's decision to give him a chance:
Adebayor on Sherwood: "He has been great. When everyone had forgotten about me, he saved me. I hope he stays but I am not the chairman"— The Sun - Football (@TheSunFootball) April 7, 2014
Eriksen made no direct comment on Sherwood, opting to denounce the stories as nothing more than newspaper-fodder. The Independent's Sam Wallace noticed it could have made for an awkward conversation:
Sky Sports interviewer describes stories 'swirling' about THFC. Eriksen blames 'newspapers'. Didn't Sherwood story today originate from Sky?— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceIndy) April 7, 2014
Sherwood has been under fire for weeks now, following a string of bad results culminating in the club's exit from the Europa League at the hands of Benfica. And with qualification for the Champions League looking very unlikely, the decision to move on to a new manager is an understandable one given the pace of today's game.
But Sherwood never truly was given much of a chance, taking over the duties from Andre Villas-Boas in the middle of the season and having to work with a squad mainly consisting of new players and still trying to recover from the loss of Gareth Bale.
And while he was often mocked by the fans and the media, he was one of the Premier League's most beloved managers on Twitter. Monday's win inspired several hilarious reactions:
Very surprised Sherwood didn't rip off his shirt and declare himself the master of the universe after that. At the press conference maybe.— dirtytackle (@BrooksDT) April 7, 2014
Gary Lineker chimed in:
Give Tim Sherwood the job for life!— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) April 7, 2014
Speaking on set with Sky Sports, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher questioned the way in which Tottenham deal with their managers, and the two former EPL players agree Sherwood never got a fair shake:
Adebayor would like to see his manager stay on, and given Sherwood was given an 18-month contract in December, people would perhaps hope the man would get the opportunity to prove he could work this squad a little longer.
Perhaps a summer transfer window and some extra time for the many new players the club brought in last year could make all the difference, but it doesn't look as if Sherwood will get the chance to prove he's the man for the job beyond this season.