sport

Sherwood: Ref called it right

Tim Sherwood believes Tottenham's miraculous Europa League comeback can inspire them in the race for a top-four Premier League finish, and claims the referee was right to send Roman Zozulya off.

After losing the first leg of their last-32 clash against Dnipro 1-0 in Ukraine, Spurs went two goals down on aggregate early in the second half at White Hart Lane on Thursday night.

Christian Eriksen and Emanuel Adebayor came to the fore, however, the Dane curling home a superb free-kick before a brace from the latter saw Spurs through to the last-16, where they will face Benfica.

Dnipro were reduced to 10 men midway through the second half, when the score on the night was level at 1-1. Zozulya was sent off after headbutting Jan Vertonghen - who appeared to fall easily after contact was made - but Sherwood claims he did not see Roberto Soldado's elbow on Artem Fedetskiy.

"Did he? I haven't seen it," Sherwood said when quizzed about Soldado's actions.

"I think the guy (Zozulya) sticks his nut in his (Vertonghen's) nose, so you have got no chance of staying on the pitch when you do that, have you?

"I didn't see any decisions which were too out of the way, I thought he (French referee Antony Gautier) refereed the game well. I think Dnipro played a good game and are a good side; they may go on and win that division."

As Tottenham's Europa League quest continues, they are also locked in a battle for a top-four finish in the Premier League and Sherwood believes the North London club can take heart from their continental display.

Belief

"You can only learn from experiences," he added. "This will be a good example of that. Many of you probably thought we were dead and buried, but the lads really showed belief.

"It was electric out there and it was only us who were going to keep scoring.

"It is a good platform, a good learning curve and something we can point to in the future."

When Zozulya put Dnipro 2-0 up on aggregate, Spurs had just 40 minutes to find three goals and the Tottenham head coach hailed the persistence shown by his side.

"I was delighted with the character," Sherwood said. "I have got a liberty to question their character when they play like they did tonight.

"After conceding so early in the second half, it was a real blow for us but it was all based on character and desire.

"I always felt we needed to score three goals to go through tonight.

"It was a bit of a nothing game in the first half but we opened them up time and again in the second half."