The Aston Villa boss believes his former midfielder outshone the Blues opposition in the 2-0 Capital One Cup final defeat.
Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ, Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has singled Nabil Bentaleb out for praise after his performance for former club Tottenham Hotspur in the 2-0 Capital One Cup final defeat to Chelsea.
Tottenham fielded a team with an average age of just 23 on Sunday afternoon, with Bentaleb, Harry Kane, Ryan Mason, ex-Leeds United trainee Danny Rose and Andros Townsend all spending time in the youth setup before making their first-team breakthroughs.
Having worked on the development side at White Hart Lane between 2008 and 2013, before replacing Andre Villas-Boas at the helm, Sherwood had a central role in bringing through several of those names, including Bentaleb.
The Algerian midfielder was handed his first-team debut by Sherwood in December 2013, before going on to make 19 more appearances over the second half of last season, and has since gone from strength to strength.
After appearing at the World Cup in Brazil, the 20-year-old has now established himself as a first-choice starter for new boss Mauricio Pochettino, and has played the full 90 minutes in all six matches since returning from the African Cup of Nations.
He may have been on the losing side at Wembley, but his former boss insists he was the best player on the pitch, and believes the makeup of the club’s line-up proves that they are doing things the right way.
“Bentaleb for me was the best player on the pitch,” he said on Monday afternoon. “It’s great that there were five academy players on the pitch. That says it all about Tottenham. They’re doing it right at the moment.
“It’s not necessarily about going out and spending millions in the transfer market. It’s also about developing your homegrown players. It’s great to see.”