Read a full match report of the Premier League game between Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday Jan 19, 2014.
Irrelevant numbers they may be come the end of the season but life could not be much better for the Spurs head coach, Tim Sherwood, whose side garnered another valuable three points on the road against a Swansea City side for whom relegation is now a realistic threat.
Still, despite his side’s accomplished victory, Sherwood was in no mood to celebrate a victory that was built on Adebayor’s latest double. Instead, the club stalwart in whom the chairman, Daniel Levy, has placed his trust, suggested that his time in charge at White Hart Lane could come to a shattering end in May unless he can deliver a top four finish and a Champions League qualifying round place..
“We know there will be tougher tests ahead, but it’s been a good start for me in the league,” Sherwood said. “However, if the season was to end tomorrow, the chairman wouldn’t be too happy because we’re fifth! The final league position has to meet the expectations of the club otherwise it’s ‘Goodbye Charlie’.
“The club need to finish in fourth place. They want to finish in fourth place and anything other than that is going to be a disappointment.”
It is a tough request considering the competitive nature of this season’s top flight. However, for the time being, there was certainly no cause for concern, despite an opening 25 minutes in which Swansea looked every bit like a side capable of inflicting a first defeat on Spurs since Sherwood took over.
Wilfried Bony, who ran the front line like a high street bouncer, shrugged off all comers on numerous occasions to bring out the best in Hugo Lloris, while Jonjo Shelvey had two excellent opportunities to break the deadlock. Bony also struck the woodwork with a strike from distance that left Lloris clutching at thin air.
Unfortunately, the Swans’ Achilles heel this season has been a collective failure to transfer their dominance into goals. Once again Michael Laudrup’s side were made to pay as Adebayor rose to head home Christian Eriksen’s deep cross, 11 minutes from half-time. It was Tottenham’s first genuine chance.
As the confidence ebbed away, so did Swansea’s challenge. The influential Shelvey limped off five minutes into the second half and Bony found himself fighting a lone battle. And there was worse to come in the 53rd minute when Chico Flores inadvertently turned a Kyle Walker cross into his own net. Game over.
Laudrup, crestfallen by his club’s Premier League slump, which has lasted six weeks since their last victory against Newcastle on Dec 4, said: “That’s the way it goes when you are in a difficult moment. But what more can we do? We are playing well, our attitude is good and we had chances. It is just not going in for us at the moment.”
No problems on that front for Spurs, who made it 3-0, 19 minutes from time. Moments before Adebayor arrived in the nick of time to convert a cross from Danny Rose, Mousa Dembélé had fluffed his lines when presented with a one on one with goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel. Sherwood looked to the skies in disbelief as the Belgian scuffed his shot wide after Aaron Lennon’s exquisite delivery.
However, the head coach was spared any further anguish when Adebayor composed himself in front of goal and slotted the ball beneath Tremmel and beyond the outstretched leg of Flores.
It was Spurs at their very best. A quick counter, a perfect assist and a clinical finish from a player who is flourishing under the leadership of Sherwood. “He’s enjoying it and I think if you’re enjoying playing, you’re always going to get the best performance out of yourself.
“He’s a top player but, like I say, there’s not been a magic wand from me. He’s always been a good player. I’ve just given Ade the stage to go and play. He hadn’t had that stage for a while. We just needed to get some consistency out of him. I am sure if he enjoys playing he’s got to keep performing well.”
Swansea continued to battle in pursuit of a consolation, at least, and when Tottenham failed to clear their lines, 12 minutes before time, Bony picked his moment to beat Lloris at his far post. It was his 14th goal of the season but scant consolation for Swansea who find themselves three points and as many places above the drop zone.