The post-Andre Villas-Boas era at Tottenham Hotspur began with defeat by West Ham United even as Manchester United beat Stoke City 2-0 to reach the League Cup semi-finals on Wednesday.
Playing for the first time since Villas-Boas was sacked on Monday, Spurs let a 1-0 lead slip in a 1-2 loss at home to London rivals West Ham.
Villas-Boas’s departure appeared to have caught the producers of the Tottenham match-day programme by surprise, with the Portuguese still listed as ‘Head Coach’ on its back page.
Interim coach Tim Sherwood picked an adventurous team, giving Emmanuel Adebayor his first start of the season alongside Jermain Defoe up front, and the pair combined to give Spurs the lead in the 67th minute. Defoe crossed from the left and Adebayor slid in to slam home an emphatic volley via the underside of the crossbar.
However, there was a blow for Spurs when Andros Townsend was forced off with an apparent hamstring injury and in the 80th minute West Ham levelled when Matt Taylor teed up Matt Jarvis to beat Hugo Lloris at his near post.
Modibo Maiga completed West Ham’s comeback five minutes later, heading in a Mohamed Diame cross to give Sam Allardyce’s side a second consecutive win at White Hart Lane following a 3-0 league success in October. Maiga almost made it 3-1 in stoppage time but his drive from 20 yards came back off the bar.
“This is a major disappointment tonight, for myself, for the boys and the football club,” said Sherwood, a former Spurs midfielder who was previously working as the club’s technical coordinator. On his chances of holding onto the role on a permanent basis, he said: “I haven’t spoken to the chairman (Daniel Levy). “We have to have a chat and see. It has to fit me and the club.”
United prevail over Stoke
Elsewhere, after a first-half hailstorm briefly forced the teams off the pitch at the Britannia Stadium, United prevailed through fine strikes from Ashley Young and Patrice Evra. Their reward was a semi-final tie against Sunderland, 2-1 victors over Chelsea on Tuesday, while West Ham will play Manchester City, with the first legs of both ties due to be played in the week beginning January 6. “The first goal tonight, whoever got it was going to make a big difference,” manager David Moyes said.