Jan 20 (Reuters) - Tim Sherwood helped lead Tottenham Hotspur to five league wins away from home for the first time since the 1960-61 season, but the young manager knows it will count for little if he can't secure Champions League football for next season.
Tottenham's 3-1 win over struggling Swansea City took Sherwood's record since replacing Andre Villas-Boas to five wins in six league matches, and moved them up fifth place, level on points with Liverpool but with an inferior goal difference.
Sherwood has secured maximum points from visits to Swansea, Manchester United and Southampton, while Spurs also won Villas-Boas's final two road trips to Sunderland and Fulham, the first time the club has achieved the feat since their famous league and FA Cup winning season over 50 years ago.
Despite making an encouraging start since surprisingly being appointed on a 18-month contract in December, 44-year-old Sherwood knows nothing but a top four finish will be good enough for the club's notoriously tough chairman Daniel Levy.
"It's been good," he told reporters after the win which took Spurs to 43 points, eight behind leaders Arsenal.
"We know there are going to be tougher tests ahead, but it's been a good start for me. If the season were to end tomorrow I don't think the chairman would be too happy because we are fifth.
"The final league position has to meet the expectation of the club otherwise it's 'goodbye Charlie'."
"The club needs to finish in fourth place, we want to finish in fourth place. Anything other than that will be a disappointment but realistically we should be in amongst it."
Sherwood has been praised for bringing back a more attacking style and abandoning Villas-Boas's preferred method of playing with a single striker, in favour of a traditional 4-4-2 formation.
He reverted to 4-5-1 on Sunday to great effect, with Christian Eriksen free to roam and striker Emmanuel Adebayor scoring twice, either side of Chico Flores's own goal.
Adebayor had played only 45 minutes under Villas-Boas this season, but since being brought back into the fold under Sherwood the Togo international has helped spark Spurs into life, scoring five league goals in the past six matches, as many as Roberto Soldado has managed all season.
Keeping Adebayor happy and in form will be crucial to Tottenham's hopes of staying in contention for a top four spot, but Sherwood played down his impact on the 29-year-old's resurgence.
"I haven't said anything to him, I have just given him the stage to play on - he hadn't had that stage for a while," Sherwood said.
"I haven't made Emmanuel Adebayor a good player, I think we already know he has been a good player at every club he has been at.
"We just needed to get some consistency out of him and I am sure if he continues to enjoy playing he will keep performing well. He is enjoying it, if you enjoy yourself playing football you will get the best performances out of yourself." (Reporting By Josh Reich; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)
- Sports & Recreation
- Tim Sherwood
- Tottenham Hotspur
- Andre Villas-Boas
- Emmanuel Adebayor