Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood believes his players will be inspired by their 6-0 mauling at the hands of Manchester City in November when the two sides meet again on Wednesday at White Hart Lane.
That result proved to be one of the factors in Andre Villas-Boas being dismissed as head coach after the team suffered another heavy defeat at the hands of Liverpool just a few weeks later. While he has seen Spurs knocked out of both domestic cup competitions, Sherwood has led the team to five wins and a draw in the Premier League since taking charge to put them right back in contention for a Champions League place. And Sherwood believes that the chance to make amends for the result at the Etihad will ensure a strong performance on Wednesday.
“It will be there in their minds, I’m sure, but one game to the next is always different,” he said, according to Tottenham’s official website. "The important thing is their pride and we have a lot of pride in that dressing room. A lot of the lads in there would have played at the Etihad and they will want revenge.”
"We’ve nothing to fear,” he added. “It would be huge for us to beat City and the belief that would bring amongst the players and the fans would be great. That’s what we’re trying to achieve."
While there is incentive there for Tottenham, the same is certainly true of their opponents. Arsenal’s draw at Southampton on Tuesday means that a win over Spurs will put Manchester City atop of the Premier League. Still, City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes that the title race remains wide open and that six sides, including Tottenham, could still be a factor.
“I don’t think that we are just three teams in the title race,” he said, according to Manchester City’s official website. “I think Tottenham continue with chances, Everton and Liverpool continue with chances and Manchester United continue with chances.”
Manchester City have been on an extraordinary run of form, with 17 wins and two draws in their last 19 matches in all competitions. The latest victory on Saturday came with a large degree of discomfort, though, with City forced to come from 2-0 down in the FA Cup fourth round at home to Championship side Watford before eventually prevailing 4-2. Pellegrini believes the match could be important going forward.
“It was a good lesson, because in football the difference between a win and a loss is very, very sight,” he explained. “So I think that was a good lesson. I think we made the correct arrangements during the game, so I think it was very important the reaction and the way we finished that game.”
City will be boosted by the return from a shoulder injury of Alvaro Negredo, although Samir Nasri, Javi Garcia and James Milner remain sidelined. Tottenham will be missing wingers Andros Townsend and Erik Lamela.
Where to watch: The Barclays Premier League contest will kick off from White Hart Lane at 2.45 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by NBCSN, with a live stream available on NBC Sports Live Extra.