Tim Sherwood has furthered his feud with Benfica manager Jorge Jesus ahead of a severely depleted Tottenham’s attempts to overturn a 3-1 deficit in Lisbon.
The two managers clashed on the touchline during the first leg of their Europa League tie at White Hart Lane last week after Sherwood responded to provocations from his opposite number when Benfica’s third goal went in. Sherwood currently has much bigger concerns with that outclassing by the Portuguese giants coming in the middle of three straight defeats. Pressure has continued to build on the man who was handed an 18-month contract after replacing Andre Villas-Boas last December. The former midfielder again lost his cool on the bench during his side’s defeat to local rivals Arsenal on Sunday.
But Sherwood was in no mood to mince his words about the antics of Jesus.
"I know exactly where he was coming from and I know what I saw” he said, according to The Guardian. “I have got no respect for the man. I've got respect for the football club and I've got respect for his players. The club is a huge club and we've had a lot of emails from Benfica fans apologizing for their manager's behavior. At the end of the day, I will shake his hand, because they are a giant of a club.”
Already facing a massive task to overturn their deficit at a venue where Benfica have not lost all season, Tottenham have arrived in Lisbon without a host of first-team players. There are particular problems in defense where, with Michael Dawson and Vlad Chiriches already ruled out, Spurs will be also be without Younes Kaboul and the suspended Jan Vertonghen. Kyle Naughton has also remained in London, as has Emmanuel Adebayor and Paulinho. Mousa Dembele, Etienne Capoue, and Erik Lamelea remain sidelined.
Benfica continued their fine form at the weekend with a 4-2 win at Nacional to extend their unbeaten run to 25 games, of which they have failed to win only two. Having narrowly missed out on a trio of trophies last year, they have responded superbly and hold a commanding seven point lead at the top of the Portuguese Liga. Their only major absentee as they look to keep their run going on Thursday will be suspended full-back Silvio.
Jesus was an entertaining presence on the touchline last week, but has said that he is eager to put the spat with Sherwood behind him and focus on what he still views as being a tricky tie.
“We won't run away from the question, it happened," he explained. "It is normal as the benches were close together. A lot of coaches in England have similar problems and I did not disrespect the coach. What is important here is that we're not going to start trying to get in more problems, it is water under the bridge. We had a good game in London and we want to do another one here.”
“We won there but we are not qualified yet,” he added, according to UEFA.com. “They have lots of quality players that can do the same here that we did in London. We have to be very careful with Tottenham.”
Where to watch: The second leg of the Europa League Round-of-16 tie will kick off at 2 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by FOX Sports 1, with a live stream on Fox Soccer 2Go and in Spanish on ESPN3.