Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino believes predecessor Tim Sherwood deserves a good reception when he returns to White Hart Lane for the first time this weekend.
The 46-year-old played for Spurs and had a key role in the club’s youth development, before taking the reins as head coach following Andre Villas-Boas’ sacking in December 2013.
Sherwood had an impressive on-field impact but not even a 59 per cent win ratio – better than any other Spurs boss in the Premier League era – could save the divisive head coach from the chop.
Now, 11 months on, the former midfielder is preparing to make a first return to White Hart Lane on Saturday when he leads out embattled Aston Villa.
Many expect the reception to be as mixed as his Tottenham legacy, but successor Pochettino believes Sherwood deserves respect after doing a “great job” in his short spell at the helm.
“I expect a very good reception because he is a manager that worked here and spent a lot of time here, like a player and as manager,” he said.
“He helped the academy to develop young talent and I hope he gets a very good reception from the supporters because I think he deserves that.”
While few expect Sherwood to be universally welcomed back, you only need to look at the squad to see a lasting impact.
Harry Kane and Nabil Bentaleb were given a chance to shine during his time as Spurs head coach and a number of others blossomed during his time as technical co-ordinator and head of football development.
“I think that we share the same idea, we believe in the young talent,” Pochettino said.
“This is great, like when I started my career as a manager at Espanyol in Barcelona.
“We believe it was the same things, to encourage and develop the young talent.
“I think the legacy is to believe in the young talent and he shared the job with other people, like (academy manager) John McDermott and all the staff in the academy, Les Ferdinand, Chris Ramsey.
“All people deserve some credit for the young players arriving in the first team.”
A number of those players will no doubt feature for Spurs on Saturday, although injury victims Kyle Walker and Hugo Lloris will not face their former manager.
Jan Vertonghen could also be absent as Pochettino looks to reignite Spurs’ fading hopes of a top-four finish after being held to a 0-0 draw at Burnley last weekend.
“We know that we have seven games and 21 points (to play for),” the Spurs head coach said. “We need to try and get the next three points.
“I think it is important for our supporters at White Hart Lane and it is important to increase our performance after the Burnley game.
“We need to show that we want to fight to finish higher in the table and it is a great opportunity tomorrow to show that we are ambitious.”
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