Tottenham Hotspur will continue to play attacking football as long as Tim Sherwood and Les Ferdinand are in charge of first-team affairs, the former Spurs striker has vowed.
Ferdinand, who is now Sherwood’s right-hand man at White Hart Lane, insisted that playing entertaining football was part of Tottenham’s history, and they would not be straying from tradition.
Sherwood was installed at the head of a backroom team comprising Ferdinand, Chris Ramsey and Steffen Freund following the departure of Andre Villas-Boas, who was criticised for playing a conservative brand of football.
And although Ferdinand admits the new coaching team have had their disputes, the one thing they agree on is that Tottenham teams must go out to attack their opponents.
“Tim and I are fortunate enough to have played in some good teams in our time and those teams played attacking football,” Ferdinand told BT Sport.
“The game is about entertainment. People want to come to the ground and be entertained, and we believe in playing the game in the right way: going forward, creating chances.
“The game is also about winning and succeeding, and I played in a team [Newcastle under Kevin Keegan] that just went forward.
Spurs fans have been brought up on a style of play. It's part of the club's tradition and something we believe in"
"But our philosophy at Tottenham is that you also have to concentrate on the defensive side and get that aspect right too.
“The fans at the club have been brought up on a style of play. It’s part of the club’s tradition and it’s something we also believe in.
“That’s not to say we agree on everything. We share ideas, though. We discuss things. I am able to put my points across and so is Chris. We have a good understanding and we have very similar views about how the game should be played.”
Spurs have missed out on Champions League football for the last three campaigns and Ferdinand acknowledges the desire to end this drought among fans will not have diminished, despite the recent upheaval.
A summer transfer outlay of over £100m has left Tottenham with a squad oozing with quality, but as Ferdinand points out, there are several new faces, including some who are still struggling to acclimatise to English football.
Is Champions League qualification a realistic requirement? “Yes, of course. That is the Holy Grail, not just for us but for a few of the very top teams,” admitted Ferdinand. “All we can do is go for it and do as well as we can.
“Managers go into a club and say they need time to understand the philosophy. Well, we don’t have that time. But we already know the club’s philosophy having been there as players and coaches in recent years.
Every game will be an acid test but we believe in what we are doing"
“Our aim is simply to get as high up the table as possible. But we have a problem in that we have so many new players, and it doesn’t matter how technically gifted they are – it takes time to adjust to the franticness of the Premier League.
“The club has spent a lot of money and people expect to see an instant return, but it just doesn’t happen like that.”
Tottenham are unbeaten in the league under Sherwood but the rookie manager faces a true test of his abilities when Spurs travel to Manchester United on New Year’s Day, live on BT Sport 1.
Spurs won 3-2 at Old Trafford under Villas-Boas last season when Gareth Bale ran riot, but Ferdinand insists that the current crop go into the game believing they can make it two wins from two at the home of the champions.
“You could say this is an acid test for us, but every game is an acid test,” said Ferdinand.
“Spurs have appointed a rookie manager with no experience, so every game will be an acid test. But we believe in what we are doing.
“For that reason we go into every single game to win it and believe we can win it. If we didn’t think that way we would be in the wrong business.
“There was a period when going to Manchester United was pretty daunting as they were practically invincible at Old Trafford.
“I don’t think I’ve ever ended up on the winning side at Old Trafford.” Maybe not as a player. But now he has his chance as a coach.
Exclusive live coverage of the New Year's Day clash between Manchester United and Tottenham begins at 5.15pm on BT Sport 1.