To become a top level football manager you have to have a relentless belief in yourself, in your own ideas and your ability to execute them.
You need leadership skills and enough of an ego to stand by your methods when things aren’t going to plan. Crucially though, you need to have those methods in the first place.
Pulling victory from the jaws of defeat should be the ultimate validation of your work and your ability to think on your feet.
Having come from 2-0 down to win 3-2 you could imagine a Jose Mourinho or a Brendan Rodgers or an Arsene Wenger standing in front the television cameras and grinning like a group of Cheshire cats who got a particularly satisfactory cream. Just failing to concede five or six goals once his side shipped the first two might be enough to make Wenger do that.
And so that is what we saw from Tim Sherwood on Sunday, when his Tottenham side battled back from going 2-0 down in the opening half an hour to beat Southampton 3-2 at White Hart Lane.
Barring any club loyalties you may have, it was hard not to be happy for Sherwood. He’s gone through a tough time since the Spurs board decided that he was the right man to replace Andre Villas-Boas. When the Saints went two goals up he was looking at a sixth defeat in the last nine games.
Yet a defeat didn’t come, a win did. Good for him. Good old Tim. Good old English footballing values come to the fore again.
After the match Sherwood – wearing that grin – spoke of the “guts, character and spirit” that his players showed in the turnaround, which was great. Christian Eriksen, the scorer of two goals, said: “We got a little speech at half-time and in the second half we were new guys.” Brilliant.
Yet Eriksen didn’t come to England to play under Sherwood, a managerial novice who has been plunged into one of the most pressurised positions in the British game.
Tottenham constantly want success yesterday. This time three years ago they were in the Champions League quarter-finals. It may have been a one-off but they strive to get back there again.
Their manager back then was Harry Redknapp, hardly a tactical genius but a man who had seen and done it all and got a couple of crates of t-shirts off the back of a van when no-one was looking.
Redknapp could handle the Spurs job. If they’d have come from 2-0 down to win 3-2 under him and he’d have talked about “guts, character and spirit” after the game then you’d let him. It may even be a little bit inspiring too.
But when Sherwood does it you can’t help but think about the errors which ensured they were 2-0 down in the first place. It isn’t his fault. He just doesn’t command the respect and reverence that a man like Rodgers, four years his junior, does when he speaks about the latest madcap Liverpool victory.
The Northern Irishman has a way of emphasising the positive aspects of his team’s displays whilst also acknowledging the negatives. Every win is a ‘journey’ that he’s planned out in his head beforehand. Conceding three goals at Cardiff, Stoke and at home to Swansea – all Liverpool wins in the last two months – were all part of the dance.
It can be cringeworthy at times, but it’s working.
Sherwood faces up to Rodgers at Anfield on Sunday, and has already spoken about the challenge as though he’s a lower league manager looking to cause a cup upset. “We’re going there to spoil the party” he said last Sunday. “We have to try and stop them and there is no pressure on us.”
Maybe a lower league manager is what Sherwood should be, at least for now. That’s what Rodgers did at Watford, Reading and Swansea.
Tottenham need an experienced boss to get the best out of the undoubted talents that they possess in their squad, as right now it seems damaging to all concerned that it is Sherwood who is at the helm.
Cut him loose in the summer, let him go away and develop as a manager and then who knows, he might come back to North London one day and oversee some more 3-2 wins from 2-0 down.
Hopefully he does anyway, as there might be a good manager in there somewhere, but Tottenham Hotspur isn’t the place to test that theory out.
It could have been worse, Andre
It’s good that referee Andre Marriner hasn’t been dropped by the Premier League and will officiate at Southampton v Newcastle at the weekend. The referee made a dreadful error last Saturday but it’s not as if such mistakes haven’t happened before with greater consequences.
In fact Marriner got off lightly, as at least Arsenal were already dead and buried in the game when he incorrectly sent off Kieran Gibbs and not Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at Chelsea.
In a League One match in November, Preston’s Joe Garner hit Anthony Griffith in the early stages of a match at Port Vale, but instead of sending off Garner – by far and away Preston’s top scorer – referee Andy Mabley sent off Neil Kilkenny instead.
What happened next? Well, Garner stayed on the pitch and scored both goals in a 2-0 win of course.
Count yourself lucky, Andre.
Odemwingie is flying
All the talk of the Loftus Road car park is firmly behind Peter Odemwingie, who is showing some fine form in an entertaining Stoke City side.
Mark Hughes and his team host Hull on Saturday, when backing the in-form Nigerian international could be the way to go.