Cardiff City-Tottenham Hotspur Preview
Boosted by a dramatic European comeback, Tottenham Hotspur will be looking to get back on course for a top four challenge as they host Cardiff City at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
Tim Sherwood's Tottenham (15-5-7) needed three second-half goals to get past Dnipro in the Europa League on Thursday, and did so, inspired by Emmanuel Adebayor and man-of-the-match Christian Eriksen. The young Danish midfielder didn't even feature as a substitute as the north London side crumbled to a hugely disappointing 1-0 defeat in the Premier League against Norwich last weekend, leaving the club six points behind fourth-placed Liverpool, but Sherwood is hoping the Europa League turnaround will inspire his squad to push for Champions League qualification.
"It's a big platform for us, we started very well. I can only talk since I've been here but it's been brilliant in the Premier League," said Sherwood, who is yet to complete his full coaching badges. "We've struggled in cup competitions but on the back of a poor result at Norwich we should really be bouncing into that game against Cardiff on Sunday.
"That's what we're looking for, a platform, and we believed we could win this game today and turn the tie around. We've actually done that, we've come out and done it. It's all right talking about it but you have to go out and do it. We've done that and we're looking forward to the next game on Sunday."
Cardiff City (5-7-15) have been in a dismal run of form, losing six of their last eight league games to find themselves just one point off the foot of the table and three points from safety. The arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has not been a salve for Cardiff, but the club's controversial chairman this week defended his decision to change the manager, as well as his other interventions at the club.
"Some of my family members really want me to leave," said Vincent Tan in a typically outspoken interview. "They think it's not worth it. They think no-one is grateful, but you have to be patient, accept the criticism and sometimes the insults. Right now at this point of time, I will stay, unless the fans really (tick) me off so much, then I will leave.
"Overall, even now, I think, I would say even 90 per cent of the fans are supportive, the problem is you have 10 per cent or five per cent or maybe even a few hundred people that are not supportive, who are more vocal. And then you have the British press who have has been misled by some people, feeding them wrong information and saying what a terrible person I am and trying to make fun of me and paint me like a villain."
Spurs have injury doubts over Danny Rose (knee), Kyle Walker (hip), Etienne Capoue (ankle), Gylfi Sigurdsson (hip) and Vlad Chiriches (back), while Erik Lamela remains out with a back problem. Cardiff have doubts over key midfield duo Gary Medel (thigh) and Jordan Mutch (hamstring).
Tottenham scored a 93rd-minute winner when these teams met in September. Record-signing Lamela - who has been sidelined since Christmas - expertly set up Paulinho for a delicate back-heel to spark jubilant scenes from the traveling team at the end of a one-sided encounter. Spurs outshot their hosts 29-6 and managed 12 attempts on target as they were almost kept at bay by man-of-the-match David Marshall.