Tottenham routs Sunderland to push Black Cats deeper into relegation zone
Tim Sherwood’s future at the Tottenham helm may be less than certain, but his side’s comprehensive defeat of Sunderland means the fate of Gus Poyet’s side is becoming increasingly clear.
The pre-match build-up was dominated by a report earlier in the day that Sherwood would be replaced as Spurs boss this summer, regardless of how results went between now and the end of the campaign.
By that reckoning, this impressive 5-1 comeback win will have little impact on his future, although the same cannot be said for Sunderland, who may have two games in hand on many of their rivals but languish bottom of the table and seven points adrift of safety.
Before the match Sherwood insisted it was "business as usual" at Spurs and that his players should not be affected by the speculation, although their minds certainly appeared elsewhere as they gifted Sunderland the opener.
Collecting a poor return ball from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, Vlad Chiriches – on his first appearance since January 29 – played a terrible square ball straight into the path of Lee Cattermole, who impressively slotted home his first Sunderland goal to the ire of the home support.
Wes Brown had headed just wide before that, but it was Spurs who had dominated the play and duly drew level when Emmanuel Adebayor snuck in at the back post to bundle home a Christian Eriksen cross.
Tottenham continued to knock on the door as half-time approached and Sherwood was incensed that referee Lee Mason, who earlier missed a Santiago Vergini handball, waved away appeals for a penalty after Harry Kane was upended by Carlos Cuellar.
The home fans would not be frustrated for long, though, as Kane prodded home his first Premier League goal to give Spurs a deserved lead.
Eriksen provided that assist and got a goal of his own with 12 minutes remaining, before Adebayor tucked home his second and substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson struck home in stoppage time to put a smile on Sherwood’s face at the end of a tough day.