Tim Sherwood insists all of his current squad are playing for their Tottenham careers and is not bothered if he upsets the players, declaring he is a ‘manager not a babysitter’.
Having criticized the character of his side following their 4-0 defeat to Chelsea on Saturday, Sherwood oversees two big games this week as he welcomes both Benfica and Arsenal to White Hart Lane.
The round-of-16 Europa League first leg against Portuguese league leaders Benfica takes on an extra edge given Spurs are now four points off a place in the Barclays Premier League’s top four.
But, with north london derby against rivals Arsenal to come on Sunday, Sherwood has urged his players to prove they are worthy of a place in his thinking beyond the end of the current campaign, as the manager continues to play down speculation about his own future.
“They know how I am and how I felt about what happened,” Sherwood said when asked how his players responded to his post-match comments.
“We are moving on, you can’t dwell on it. They are all men, they all appreciate that I am singing it from the heart, not from the script – I’m not an actor, I work on impulse.
He continued, “I’m never going to take a step back. I’m just going to shoot from the hip. That’s what I’m like. I’m a manager, not a babysitter.
“A lot of players here are playing for their future 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 who I need to bring in.
“They have that chance between now and the end of the season to prove they want to play for a giant club like Tottenham.
“I want players here who want to play for the club and they have between now and the end of the season to show that they are playing for their club and not for themselves.
“I don’t think at any football club a player should be doing them a favour by playing for them.”
Sherwood said he had spoken to Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy following the disappointing result at Chelsea but that discussions only focused on how to take the club forward next season.
With names such as Louis van Gaal and Frank de Boer constantly linked with his job, Sherwood maintains he is the man entrusted with getting Spurs back into the Champions League having only replaced previous incumbent Andre Villas-Boas in December.
When asked if he had spoken to Levy, Sherwood replied: “There was no sit down meeting, nothing more than what I normally do. I’ve seen him a few times.
“I’m planning for next season. There’s no point me planning if someone else is coming in. I’ve not asked for any assurances. I’ve an 18-month contract and I expect to be here a lot longer than that. ”
While admitting new faces are likely to arrive in the summer, Sherwood was keen to stress he would not be writing off any of the current crop just yet.
Asked if he would make changes to the squad, Sherwood said: “Without a doubt – there always will be.
“Everyone gets a second chance. I am never ever going to burn bridges with players. They are assets to the football club.
“They have an opportunity to respond. It’s out there now they know what’s required. It’s not about going 1-0 and then going and playing well it’s about in adversity, who wants to roll their sleeves up.
“It’s a level playing field from the kids to the money signings. No-one is going to get preferential treatment just because of a price tag.
“It’s about what they are doing on the pitch. I am seeing them everyday. I know the DNA of the guys, and I know the ones I can trust and the ones I can’t.”