Tim Sherwood: Tottenham Hotspur lacked character against Chelsea

• Manager accuses his players of capitulation
• José Mourinho refuses to consider Chelsea as favourites

Tim Sherwood accused his players of lacking character after Tottenham Hotspur's capitulation to Chelsea left their pursuit of the top four in disarray, with the Spurs manager suggesting the team should "wake up" when it comes to targeting Champions League qualification.

The visitors wilted just before the hour-mark, a series of defensive mistakes presenting Chelsea with a comfortable win to establish a seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League. Spurs have now gone 27 games without winning in this corner of south-west London but their meek surrender – reminiscent of the defensive mess endured against Liverpool and Manchester City already this season – left their manager fuming in disbelief.

"You can't legislate for the capitulation," said Sherwood, who was appointed on an 18-month contract in December but is already under pressure, given Louis van Gaal's interest in taking the job after the World Cup. "You just can't have that. It's a lack of characters, too many of them [being]too nice to each other, and you need to show a bit more guts and not want to be someone's mate all the time. They need to drag it out of each other. It hurts me and I won't forget about this when we hit the motorway, but some might.

"We've got to win the games we still have to play, but we had to do that before today, and this is another blow to us. For me, I believed we could win here. I thought they were there for us. But it never materialised. There have been too many blips. The club talks about fourth … wake up. You won't finish in the top four if you don't beat top teams. You're miles away unless you beat the top teams. I'm massively disappointed."

Sherwood disputed the award of a penalty for Younès Kaboul's tug on Samuel Eto'o, which provided Eden Hazard with Chelsea's second goal. "I haven't seen it again but I've complained about referees during all my career – now less – but I've always done it but never when I've lost 4-0," Sherwood said. "When you lose 4-0, you go home and do not complain about the ref."

José Mourinho has seen his side go 14 games unbeaten in the Premier League to establish their seven-point advantage at the top, but refuses to consider Chelsea as favourites, with those at their back – most notably Manchester City – having games in hand. "I would like to be in City's position," he said. "If they win the matches, they're top of the league. If we win the next nine matches, we may not be champions. If City win the 12 matches they have, they're champions. They have the destiny in their own hands. I would prefer to have destiny in my own hands. It doesn't depend on us. It depends on them."

John Terry was outstanding again against Spurs but Chelsea's captain reaffirmed post-match that he would not be reversing his decision to retire from international football despite the World Cup finals looming ever larger this summer. "My days are gone," he said. "It's down to Gary [Cahill] and the young boys now to push on for the country. A lot went on with myself and England, and I was proud to play for my country, but unfortunately things have changed and I'm concentrating now on my club. I loved playing for my country."


Dominic Fifield at Stamford Bridge

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