EPL: Tim talks tactics

Just a day after Tottenham put on the most entertaining, slapstick show since Cirque du Soleil, an Anfield cleaner found a scrap of paper in the away dressing room.

It was Tim Sherwood's team talk. He's proper old-school. He likes to write things down. He has trouble remembering too many sentences, being monolingual and all that.

The team talk isn't for the faint-hearted. If every swear word was replaced with a beep, it would be like listening to War and Peace in Morse code.

So I've taken out most of the rude words for the sake of the children (and lawyers) to exclusively publish Sherwood's inspired speech...

"Right, lads, here're the tactics for Liverpool today. We're gonna get right f****** stuck into them today, squeeze them by the ***** and tell them all to **** off.

"What's that, Soldado? What are my tactics? They were my tactics. You still can't speak proper English like what we do, can ya?

"I don't know what they teach you in those Latin schools, but here in England, we roll our sleeves up, give 110 per cent, run all day, spill blood for the club, show our commitment and spirit... and our spirit and commitment... And then we roll our sleeves up and start again. Those are our tactics. If you had learnt how to speak proper English like the rest of us, I wouldn't have to keep repeating myself.

"What's that, Soldado? You're wondering if we should 'drop back defensively to negate the increased width of their 4-3-3 formation and their ability to exploit spaces between our static lines and use their front three to target our vulnerable fullbacks'? No, I want you to kick the nearest defender in the nuts.

"That's the trouble with foreign players like you, Soldado. No one can understand your dodgy English. That's why you take so long to adapt to our game. You've still got to learn the English way, which is my way or the highway.

"Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah, everyone listen carefully to my detailed tactics... Chadli, get stuck into Henderson. Sigurdsson, get stuck into Gerrard. Eriksen, get stuck into Johnson.

"Yes, Christian, what do you want to ask? Are all my tactics going to be about getting stuck into opponents? Of course they are. I was schooled by the greatest, most subtle, most intelligent, most ingenious coach of them all... No, not Pep Guardiola. Harry Redknapp.

"Yes, Christian, what is it now? ... You're asking if you can roam in a freer role behind Soldado to pull Gerrard further away from central midfield, congest the space in front of the penalty box and increase pressure on Skrtel and Agger?

"Sorry, Christian, I really can't understand your weird English either. Remember to use more professional, technical terms like 'get stuck in', 'two up top', 'keep it tight', 'roll your sleeves up', 'spirit and commitment', 'get in' and 'bang'.

"Right, moving on then, I'll be up in the directors' box again today. I've got no choice. My wife is fed up with washing my dirty gilets.

What's that, Aaron Lennon? What's a gilet? A gilet is a sleeveless jacket. Gilet is a French expression that means 'get stuck in'.

"And I haven't got any gilets left. I've thrown them at the dugout, at players, at fourth officials, at journalists...

"But there's no need to worry. I'll be communicating with the dugout via a mobile phone - from the back of a stand in one of the loudest stadiums in world sport so there shouldn't be any problems.

"So, roll your sleeves up, show plenty of spirit and commitment and get stuck in. Mark my words. It'll be at least two minutes before Liverpool realise what's hit them.

"Right, does anyone still find my tactics confusing?"

npsports@sph.com.sg

This article was published on April 2 in The New Paper.

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