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Spurs star: We must adapt to new ideas quickly to improve home form

Lewis Holtby Lewis Holtby

Friday, December 27, 2013
10:59 AM

Lewis Holtby says the Tottenham squad is attempting to adapt to Tim Sherwood’s ideas as quickly as possible as they bid to improve their home form.

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Sherwood replaced Andre Villas-Boas last week, initially on an interim basis before his 18-month contract as the club’s permanent head coach was announced on Monday.

However, the 44-year-old has been unable to have an immediate impact on Tottenham’s disappointing results at White Hart Lane.

Sherwood’s first game in charge was a 2-1 defeat to West Ham in the Capital One Cup in north London and, although his side then won away at Southampton at the weekend, they were held to a 1-1 draw by West Brom in front of their own fans yesterday.

The Lilywhites have now failed to win any of their last five domestic home games, and Holtby says there is work to be done on the training ground before he and his team-mates return to the Lane to host Stoke on Sunday.

“I think when you play at home and you draw it’s always two points dropped,” he said. “We’ll try to work it out over the next few days.

“The games keep coming and we have to figure out how we can break these teams down at home because sides like West Brom come here not to lose and they try to defend as well as possible, and they’ll always be deadly on the counter.

“The coaches who are in, they’ve only had a short time. It’s not that easy for them to come in and show you a different style. We’re trying to adapt to that as quickly as we can and we’re positive about the coming weeks. I think we can get there quickly.

“In football it’s always very important that you have a structure and you have a plan, and it’s good that we have these guys in [for the long-term] now.

“I think they’ve done a really good job coming in here in a very hectic period of the season, and we just have to follow their lead and try to do everything they say.”

Sherwood has instantly switched from Villas-Boas’ 4-2-3-1 system to a more attacking 4-4-2 formation, and Holtby says he is happy with the change.

“I played that system one and a half years ago at Schalke, when I played as one of the two No6s,” he said. “I normally have no problems with that. I generally like this position a lot but when you play against very deep sides it’s always hard to break them down.

“It didn’t go for us yesterday. We had a couple of chances in the first half - the same as West Brom - but tactically they played well. They had a lot of determination and they fought very hard.

“They closed us down at the back, but we have to blame ourselves for the fact that we didn’t score, and the way we conceded wasn’t the best.

“When you play in England or if you come to England your mind has to be set [to move on quickly] because you have a lot games – especially us.

“We’ve had a game every three or four days and that started in August or September. We have to be up for it, that’s why we’ve got a big squad, and now everyone has to put 110 per cent in.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

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