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Spurs boss warns: Every player’s fighting for his future now

14:15 12 March 2014

Tottenham

Tottenham's head coach Tim Sherwood

EMPICS Sport

Tim Sherwood has revealed that he has started planning for next season with chairman Daniel Levy – and he has warned the Tottenham players that they are all fighting for their futures.

An angry Sherwood launched an outspoken attack on his stars after Saturday’s 4-0 defeat at Chelsea, questioning their “character” and “guts”.

Although rumours persist that he might be replaced in the summer, the head coach will be evaluating his squad over the coming weeks and deciding which players will be axed.

Asked if he had spoken to Levy in the wake of his infamous interview at Stamford Bridge, Sherwood replied: “Yes but no sit-down meeting, nothing more than what I normally do. I see him every day, we’re all based here at the training ground.

“Have I got his support? I think so, I’m planning for next season. It’s come to the stage where we have to start talking about pre-season and I’m the one planning for it now and also looking at different personnel. It’s no good me planning for next season if someone else is coming in.

“Franco [Baldini, the technical director]] speaks separately to Daniel, he speaks separately to me. We’re all singing from the same sheet.

“I spoke to Daniel about planning pre-season, looking at players - who do I want to keep? A lot of these players who are here now are playing for their futures, and I think they realise that now.

“I’m going to have a good look at the whole squad and see who I need to keep and see who I need to bring in. They’ve got that chance between now and the end of the season to prove they want to play for a great giant of club like Tottenham Hotspur.

Sherwood added: “I want players who want to play for the club, and they’ve got between now and the end of the season to show that they’re playing for the club and not for themselves. I don’t think at any football club a player should be doing a club a favour by playing for them.

“You’ll see a lot of players all over Europe, all over the world – sometimes they think they’ve outgrown football clubs and that can’t be the case.

“People pay a lot of money to watch these clubs, it’s in their blood, and I think the players owe it to them to perform 100 per cent for the shirt.”

Spurs spent over £100million on seven new players last summer, splashing out £26m apiece on Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela - but Sherwood insists the latest recruits are not safe.

“It’s a level playing field from the kids to the money signings,” he said. “No-one’s going to get preferential treatment just because of a price tag or a reputation. It’s about what they’re doing on the pitch.

“All the experts can pick their own team, I’m seeing them every day. There’s no point just looking at highlights and saying ‘he did this or that wrong’, I’m working with these players every single day. I know the DNA of the guys, and I know the ones I can trust and the ones I can’t.

“Anyone can play badly, anyone can get outplayed. We know that, that’s the nature of football. But what you cannot do is get outfought and outdesired and I do not want to see that happening again, that capitulation.

“I want to see the same desire and attitude from minute one to minute 95, and I won’t tolerate anything less than that - and the players know that now.

“it’s out there now and the fans will be looking for it, and they’ll also demand it because if you owe anything to these fans it’s 100 per cent desire - that costs nothing.”

Spurs host Benfica in the last 16 of the Europa League tomorrow night, and Sherwood is hoping that a couple of his midfielders will be return from injury – but he has confirmed that Michael Dawson will be absent after limping off against Chelsea with a hamstring problem.

“[Mousa] Dembele missed out at the weekend and he’s in contention,” said Sherwood. “Christian Eriksen is in contention too.

“We’re obviously delighted to have Younes [Kaboul] back. He would be available for this game anyway, but it’s great to have him for the derby against Arsenal on Sunday as well, because we were short in that area of the field. We’ve successfully appealed his red card [against Chelsea].

“Dawson’s not as bad as we thought but it will rule him out for the next couple of games.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

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