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Tim Sherwood defends tactical switches after Villa are shocked by Leicester

Published 14/09/2015

Tim Sherwood has responded to claims he made the wrong substitutions during Aston Villa's defeat at Leicester
Tim Sherwood has responded to claims he made the wrong substitutions during Aston Villa's defeat at Leicester

Tim Sherwood has defended his substitutions against Leicester and admitted the changes made by both managers played a part in the dramatic turnaround at the King Power Stadium.

For just over an hour on Sunday it was probably Aston Villa's best performance of the Barclays Premier League season, as Sherwood's side led 2-0 courtesy of a goal from Jack Grealish - his first for the club - and Carles Gil's strike.

However, from a position of total control, Villa somehow conspired to lose the game 3-2.

Leicester's fightback coincided with a couple of strange changes by the Villa boss.

First, shortly after Gil's 63rd-minute strike, Sherwood replaced the Spanish midfielder with Jordan Ayew - a striker. Then, at 2-1, Rudy Gestede came on for Gabby Agbonlahor when a more defensive approach was perhaps needed.

As a result the hosts gained the upper hand and Jamie Vardy equalised with eight minutes remaining before Nathan Dyer, brought on by Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri at half-time to allow Riyad Mahrez to play more centrally, bravely headed the winning goal in the 89th minute.

Mahrez had a hand in all three of the Foxes goals, leaving Sherwood out-tinkered by 'The Tinkerman'.

"They had to change, didn't they? Because we were so on top and we were outplaying them. But credit to them for the changes they made," said Sherwood.

"I've been asked about bringing Carles off but I had to. I was going to make the substitution before he scored as he was struggling with an injury.

"You make changes - sometimes they work for you, sometimes they don't.

"I'm not sure if they were the reasons the game got away from us. People can draw their own conclusions.

"The game was gone. It was finished. With 30 minutes left, 2-0 up, the game should be dead and buried.

"But we made unforced errors and it has cost us the game. It was individual errors, which we need to stop happening.

"We scored good goals but the goals we conceded were shocking."

As well as introducing Dyer at the break, Ranieri reacted immediately to going 2-0 down by bringing on Ngolo Kante and Leonardo Ulloa and b oth played their part in the fightback.

Ranieri received a lot of credit for the changes he made but the 63-year-old was quick to deflect the praise back on to his players.

"I saw that the team wanted something different, to keep the spirit going," he said.

"I told the players they were keeping the ball better than us but if we played together we could do something good, and the players did it - they did it all."

Asked if he now has a selection headache for the trip to Stoke next weekend, the affable Italian said: "No, no it's good. This is not a problem.

"Injuries and suspensions give a manager a problem, not having 25 players to pick from - players who are ready."

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