Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood has claimed that the attitude of his players in their Europa League draw against Benfica proves they have his back.
Spurs were knocked out of the tournament last-16 after a 2-2 draw at the Estadio da Luz, having lost the home leg 3-1 at White Hart Lane.
They were however close to a remarkable comeback when Nacer Chadli score two quick-fire goals after Ezequiel Garay’s header, as well as having a strong 88th minute penalty claim turned down.
Benfica eventually saw out the tie with a late penalty themselves, going into the quarter-final draw 5-3 on aggregate.
In the aftermath of Spurs’ 4-0 loss to Chelsea, Sherwood questioned his players’ character and attitude, but only saw positives on Thursday night.
“People speculated, didn’t they?” he was quoted by Sky Sports. “I read a lot of things saying now you need those players on your side.
“I think it’s evident they’re on my side and the side of the club. They fight for the cause and my little rant, if you want to call it one, has done them no harm.
“They have showed real character and real guts and they need to do that until the end of the season, because we’ve got some tough games ahead and I’m confident they will do that.”
Sherwood believed that with his second string side, his men had outplayed the Portuguese outfit and was disappointed that referee Damir Skomina didn’t award a spot-kick for Miralem Sulejmani’s tackle on Harry Kane.
“Sometimes you get them and sometimes you don’t and at the moment, we’re not getting them,” the Spurs boss said.
“We had them where we wanted them. They were running scared, weren’t they?
“It was good to see their manager sweating. I did not see a suave character on the side, I thought someone who was really flustered, which was good to see.
“That is what we intended to do and that is what we achieved.
“Credit to Benfica, they go through over two legs. You have to say the one that scores the most goals deserves to go through.
“But for us, the 3,000 travelling fans from London must be proud of what they saw.
“The boys are very proud about what the fans have done for them tonight as they stuck behind them, travelling in numbers, and the boys have put on a performance which they can go and be proud of.”