Date: 20th January 2014 at 8:54am
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For someone who is still rated by many as merely keeping the hot seat warm for a bigger, but not necessarily better name, Tim Sherwood seems to be doing quite well. Well from my perspective, I have to feel a certain smugness that my desire to see him given the job, seems to be well founded, for now at least. I had a “debate’ in the pub, last week over Sherwood/AVB and even in ignoring the positive results and seemingly bigger smiles on the players faces, I asked the other chaps to name me one player that had actually improved under AVB during his time at the club? I dismiss Bale as a freak of nature, that would have improved, if myself and Coopsie were running the show. Under Sherwood, we have not only seen the re-emergence of Adebayor, but also seen Eriksen improve, game upon game and of course who would have seen the selection and success of Nabil Bentaleb?

Of course Tim isn`t yet at legendary status and though he subtly claims he is still fighting to get the job, long term and needs a top four to get it, I wonder if it is more about his vision, fan, media and of course sponsor confidence, whilst is a narrow sixth place, in a really strong finish really a reason to dispense with a man that might just have something going, if given more time and resources to slightly reshape and reinvigorate a squad that was built for someone else? I always feel any manager needs a summer and good pre season to get his methods across. Sherwood may well have the advantage of knowing the players, the club and staff, but he isn`t coming in from that position of strength and fan blind support, that an established name might have expected.

Sherwood, effectively has to win over everyone connected to the club and prove he has the tactical and man management skills to take on the role and though he perha[s still base some way to go, I have to say I am feeling good about supporting my team again and enjoying the football, even though it isn`t quite to the level and quality I hope it will be. Lets see improvements from bringing back some big players, lets see the improvement from work on the training ground and lets see the benefits from a manager that knows he has the chance to build for the longer term, as opposed to having to work for the short one, just to keep his job. I think they dally it stability and the confidence that brings. Sure we need to be winning games, but I also believe that with confidence and backing from the board, players, fans and media, Tim will feel justified in his decisions and confident that one bad result or mistake, wont put him back to being seen as the short term solution.

Now, I am not sure whether yesterdays change in formation was tactical or that Soldado was still carrying a slight knock, but it shows that he is not afraid to “rest” big money players and also it gives Soldado a real problem in getting his place back. Perhaps against City, it is sensible to only play one striker, and if you had to pick a man to face City, it would have to be Ade, but is playing two, tactical suicide? Its a yes from me. He could have opted for Defoe, but was Swansea effectively a dress rehearsal for City? There might well be an argument to see Sandro, Townsend and Vertonghen next weekend, but I can see the the shape of the team being pretty much as we saw at the weekend. Is this another indication that we are developing the team, looking at the opposition and generally being a little more clever and tactically aware than some would like to portray him?

It is still early days, but the fact I see players enjoying themselves, the team playing better and more attractive football and individual improvements, I have to give praise to Tim Sherwood and his team. We might not get a top four place, but lets also accept that the competition has never been tougher. Just ask David Moyes!