Sherwood revels in positives of win

Andover Advertiser: Tim Sherwood was delighted with his side Tim Sherwood was delighted with his side

Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood could not ask for much more from his injury-hit side as they closed out 2013 with a first league win at White Hart Lane for two months.

The first half of the season has been a tumultuous time for Spurs, whose big-money signings in the wake of Gareth Bale's world-record sale failed to save Andre Villas-Boas from the chop.

Sherwood's appointment as successor looks a gamble - something the former midfielder acknowledges himself - but chairman Daniel Levy's decision so far looks a shrewd move.

Despite having to balance a host of injuries in a hectic festive period, the dominant 3-0 victory against Stoke means the 44-year-old has yet to lose a league match in three.

Roberto Soldado's first-half penalty set Spurs on course for victory, with impressive Mousa Dembele and Aaron Lennon efforts adding gloss to a first home league win since sneaking past Hull on October 27.

"I thought we were good from start to finish," Sherwood said.

"We set about Stoke from the outset, moved the ball around well and created enough chances to win two games in the first half.

"It is great to have a clean sheet. I think Hugo Lloris deserves a clean sheet - he is one of the best goalkeepers there is.

"I think that was our first league win since October here as well, which is good to get off our back.

"I am looking at positives rather than negatives and we were unfortunate on Boxing Day [in the 1-1 draw with West Brom] that one of those chances didn't fall for us.

"The positives today are that we had a lot of players out injured and the ones that came in were exceptional, did very, very well. Kyle Naughton and Zeki Fryers were excellent.

"Those that came in did excellently today and we are struggling with fitness to a lot of the players. It is like an infirmary down there at the moment, but we've just got to get on with it."

Sandro, Younes Kaboul, Jan Vertonghen and Andros Townsend have all missed the festive period through injury.

Sherwood confirmed Jermain Defoe dropped out of the squad to face Stoke due to a "thigh strain" while left-back Danny Rose was absent due to fatigue.

They were amongst five players to drop out the starting line-up, with Paulinho one of those brought in.

Back after a three-match ban, the Brazil international impressed in his first start under Sherwood until being forced off through injury in the second half.

"Paulinho was another injury, having to come off," Sherwood said. "He was immense today, wasn't he? Fantastic.

"I never knew he possessed that, I have to be honest. I've seen him in training so have seen him gradually, as there is not a lot of time to train. He certainly opened up my eyes when I saw him out there today."

Next up for Tottenham is the unenviable task of a trip to Manchester United, while Stoke will hope to get back to winning ways at home to Everton.

This loss was hardly the ideal response to the Boxing Day thrashing at Newcastle, but one which Mark Hughes felt could have panned out differently had referee Kevin Friend ruled against Fryers and Michael Dawson in the first half.

"In the initial period we had a couple of decisions that we were disappointed with," the Stoke boss said.

"Obviously Jon Walters going through the middle, we felt he was impeded and there was a case for their lad to be sent off.

"Oussama Assaidi also went into the box and felt he was impeded as well. He went down and that could have been a penalty all before Spurs got their penalty, which was a little bit harsh but I can understand why it was given.

"You need those things to go for you in the early part of the game and if we had gone into the lead it would have given us real encouragement and who knows?

"But, if I am honest, in terms of the quality on show and the way Spurs played, we found it very difficult to get anywhere near them today.

"They were a little bit sharper to each and every ball, half-a-yard quicker.

"They are a good team and they looked fully motivated, each and every one of the players wanted to get on the ball and affect the game and we found it difficult to get a foothold in the game ourselves, unfortunately.

"There are reasons behind that. We were missing players today which would have helped, but, overall, on occasions we did not help ourselves.

"We allowed situations when we had good possession to be given up too cheaply in poor areas for us, but good areas for Spurs and they were able to capitalise on it."

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