Tim Sherwood: Tactically we bamboozled Liverpool

Sunday 19 Apr 2015
A jubilant Tim Sherwood celebrates Aston Villa's victory
Tim Sherwood says Liverpool were “bamboozled” by Aston Villa’s tactics in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final.

The Villans boss asked his players to adapt to a short passing game at Wembley Stadium – with 19-year-old Jack Grealish as their fulcrum – and the ploy paid dividends with a 2-1 victory.

Sherwood said: “We were the underdogs but we believed in there that we could win it and I think we bamboozled Liverpool to be honest. 

Aston Villa 2-1 Liverpool

FA Cup semi-final
Wembley Stadium connected by EE
Sunday 19 April 2015

"We kept the ball off them, created lots of chances and they resorted to lumping the ball into our area in the last 10 minutes so you know you are doing something right when they're doing that."

The former Tottenham boss praised 19-year-old local boy Grealish for his contribution, playing alongside Charles Nzogbia in support of powerhouse striker Christian Benteke.

"The bigger the stage the better he plays. He relishes it and he's a great talent,” he said.

“He could be right up there amongst the best of them. Jack is someone I looked at before I was at the club and if you give him an instruction he sticks to the plan.

"He's got a big future at the football club. The ball is his friend. He likes to receive it he doesn't look at it, he knows where it is, he shifts it, he's got a turn of foot, takes a lot of knocks, but he can take it. 

Jack Grealish darts between two Liverpool defenders

Jack Grealish darts between two Liverpool defenders

Birmingham-born Grealish joined Villa as a six-year-old, but had to wait until last May for his debut following a loan spell at Notts County.

He started the season with a series of substitute appearances but has flourished under the tutelage of Sherwood since his arrival on Valentine’s Day.

“He's Aston Villa through-and-through. He knows every turnstile at Villa Park”

Tim Sherwood on Jack Grealish

"He's Aston Villa through-and-through. He knows every turnstile at Villa Park.

“He lives a couple of miles from the ground, he just wants to play for the club and I want to give him the platform to do that because he's earned the right."

Aston Villa return to Wembley to face Arsenal on Saturday 30 May – and Sherwood says all the expectation will be on the holders.

"We will be the underdogs," he said. "The pressure is on Arsenal to win the Cup, they're the holders and they want to win it again.

“We've got a lot of hard work between now and then and we realise we need to secure our Premier League safety.

"We need to come back here and take the game to Arsenal. Every time we play we take the game to the opposition, we carry our own threats and today was no exception."

Sherwood says he will have to do without central defender Nathan Baker, who came off with a knee injury.

"It looks like a bad injury to be honest. It's a recurring injury and he's out for the season," he said.

"We lost Ciaran Clark last week so I'm down to two centre-halves for the rest of the season."

By James Callow Content manager At Wembley Stadium connected by EE