Tim Sherwood enjoyed watching his Aston Villa side beat his former club Tottenham and silence the doubters in the process.
A first-half Christian Benteke header was enough to seal a 1-0 win for Villa at White Hart Lane and move them six points clear of the bottom three as Sherwood looks to complete his task of keeping the club in the Premier League.
The Belgium striker turned home Leandro Bacuna’s 35th-minute strike to separate the two sides, with Carlos Sanchez sent off late on for the visitors having picked up two yellow cards.
Villa now have breathing space over the clubs beneath them and this victory would have been all the sweeter for Sherwood – who was sacked as Tottenham head coach at the end of last season.
When asked if he enjoyed the victory, Sherwood replied: “Yes, but I didn’t enjoy it while it was still going on.
“If we hadn’t won here today, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it (coming back) but it is most satisfying because it is the most important stage of the season.
“This week so many people told me ‘you can’t win there, Villa never win there’ – so where do we win?”
Those doubters had a point. This was Villa’s first win at Tottenham since 2008 and Sherwood was full of praise for his match-winner – as well as the players behind him.
“He’s done well,” Sherwood said of Benteke.
“To score 12 goals in 25 games before I came in, there was something wrong. Something wrong with the team behind him, not creating chances.
“Benteke – he’s prolific. If you give him a chance he will score.
“We are playing it to him a lot earlier, and (Gabriel) Agbonlahor. Keeping them in the game I think is key. It stretches the opposition and I think we saw that today, the Tottenham defence could not settle.”
Sherwood still has a good relationship with key figures at Tottenham and insists he would not be Villa manager now were it not for the faith put in him by Spurs chairman Daniel Levy.
Levy chose Mauricio Pochettino to replace Sherwood in the Tottenham dugout and the Argentinian is still getting his own philosophy across to the squad.
Defeated in the Capital One Cup final by London rivals Chelsea, Pochettino admits qualifying for next season’s Champions League is starting to look improbable – having also dropped points to struggling Burnley last weekend.
“To be realistic, it’s difficult,” he said.
“But after the last two weeks, we need to be realistic. We need to increase our level of performance. It’s not easy. We are in a position where we need to win all the points.”
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