‘They change the game, as soon as they came on, Tottenham lost’: Former boss Tim Sherwood pins the blame on new signings Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur for shock Southampton defeat
- Tottenham missed out on the chance to close gap on top four with shock loss
- Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski came on as second-half substitutes
- Mohamed Elyounoussi and Che Adams scored after Kulusevski’s introduction
- Tim Sherwood believes January signings from Juventus were to blame for loss
Spurs missed the chance to move up to sixth and just one point off the Champions League places in the Premier League table after two late goals in three minutes secured a 3-2 victory for Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s men.
Winger Kulusevski and midfielder Bentancur – who joined on transfer deadline day last month from Juventus on 18-month loan and permanent deals respectively – were once again named on the bench on Wednesday night.
Tim Sherwood believes winger Dejan Kulusevski (L) was to blame for Tottenham’s defeat
Sherwood (R) also blamed fellow new buy Rodrigo Bentancur (L) for shock Southampton loss
Bentancur came on for Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, 10 minutes before Son Heung-min put the hosts 2-1 ahead in the 70th minute, while Kulusevski replaced Lucas Moura 14 minutes from the end of regulation time.
Kulusevski’s introduction came four minutes prior to Mohamed Elyounoussi’s equaliser and then Che Adams’ 82nd-minute winner.
And speaking to Premier League Productions via The Mirror, former Spurs boss Sherwood slammed the duo – who made their Spurs debut in the weekend’s FA Cup fourth-round win against Brighton – insisting they ‘changed the game’ for the worse.
‘In the end, the best team beat the best players. Southampton were quality. They knew, in possession and out-of-possession,’ he said.
Bentancur joined permanently last month and made his top-flight debut on Wednesday
‘They had a game plan. I thought their game plan was a lot better than Tottenham’s. You look at the attempts. 23 attempts to Tottenham’s eight? I thought they deserved the game.
‘It’s not about holding on. Antonio [Conte] needs to get better control of the football match. Then you don’t have to hold on. You can’t just rely on holding on and gamesmanship just to preserve your three points.
‘I think he [Conte] has done a brilliant job since he has been in there. He is still learning about the players. He brings on Kulusevski and Bentancur. And they change the game, as soon as they came on, Tottenham lost.’
Sherwood however was also eager to highlight that Conte should have controlled the game better and the decision to bring the Sweden and Uruguay internationals on at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was ultimately his.
Sherwood did highlight decision to bring duo on was that of boss Antonio Conte (L)
Kulusevski’s deal is an 18-month loan with the option to make the move permanent for £30million in the summer.
Bentancur, meanwhile, joined on a four-year contract after a successful spell in Turin that saw him win five trophies – including three straight Serie A titles, making a total of 181 appearances.
Spurs meanwhile will now look to bounce back on Sunday against Wolves, who could leagfrog them and north London rivals Arsenal into fifth with a victory against the Gunners at Molineux on Thursday evening.