Christian Eriksen scored once and got two assists as Tottenham Hotspur beat Sunderland 5-1 to deal Gus Poyet's team a big blow in their fight to avoid relegation from the Barclays Premier League.
Not for the first time at White Hart Lane, Spurs had to come from behind to secure a comprehensive victory that moved them above Manchester United into sixth place in the Premier League table. The defeat left Sunderland bottom of the table with 25 points, knowing that even if they win the two matches in hand they have on the teams above them they will still be in the relegation zone.
The north London club came back from 2-0 down to beat Southampton in their last home match, and gave away a soft opener at White Hart Lane when Vlad Chiriches, returning after just over two months out through injury, gave the ball away and Lee Cattermole scored his first Sunderland goal.
Fit-again striker Emmanuel Adebayor has been a shining light under Sherwood and his 12th goal since the Englishman took over in December drew his side level, before Harry Kane marked his first Barclays Premier League start for the club with a goal to put the hosts in front.
The impressive Eriksen set up the first two goals with crosses and added a stylish effort of his own, before Adebayor's second of the game and an stoppage-time strike from substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson added gloss to the scoreline.
Spurs started well, knocking the ball around with confidence, but were almost behind 13 minutes in when stand-in Sunderland captain Wes Brown headed the recalled Adam Johnson's inviting free-kick just wide. The home side failed to heed the warning and they gifted the visitors the lead three minutes later.
Chiriches received the ball from Hugo Lloris and the defender's stray pass to Younes Kaboul was picked up by Cattermole, who caught the France goalkeeper out with a measured right-foot finish from long range.
Adebayor came close to an equaliser after 23 minutes, but did not reject a second chance when Eriksen's dangerous cross struck him six yards out and the ball went in.
It was the visitors who had a spring in their step early in the second half, with Johnson pulling the strings, but Spurs were in front when Kane repaid the faith put in him by head coach Tim Sherwood just before the hour, turning in another fine Eriksen cross from six yards out.
Eriksen capped a fine individual performance in the 78th minute, as he let fly with a left-foot strike that deflected off Phil Bardsley and flew into the far corner 12 minutes from time. Kane and Adebayor then combined to add a fourth goal with five minutes remaining, with the Togolese on hand to turn the ball in after his strike partner had been denied by Mannone.
Sigurdsson took advantage of poor Sunderland defending at a corner to finish off the scoring from close range in time added on.
Spurs head coach Tim Sherwood: "I set the team out well tonight, we outplayed Sunderland. We knew it would be a tough game, because they have got their threats, and we've done the job well tonight. On to the next.
"We've got five games left and we think we can win all five games. We don't know where that might take us. All I was focused on was winning the game tonight, preparing the boys correctly. You've just got to be professional. It's been an opportunity to manage this great club and I'm relishing it. My record has been very good. In the Premier League, any manager who has been here, I think my win percentage is higher than any of them."
Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet: "We needed to take a risk and we cannot take risks - we're not good enough. It's very hard to take. It's not nice. I imagine how hard it is for the travelling fans but there's no place to hide, and I will accept full responsibility. We need a miracle probably, something unique, if not, it's going to be impossible. We try, there's no other way."
|12 Apr 2014||v West Brom (A)|
|19 Apr 2014||v Fulham (H)|
|26 Apr 2014||v Stoke (A)|
|03 May 2014||v West Ham (A)|
|11 May 2014||v Aston Villa (H)|