Villas-Boas puts faith in Adebayor


Andre Villas-Boas launched a staunch defence of Emmanuel Adebayor last night and backed the misfiring striker to rediscover his best form to help get Tottenham into the Champions League. Despite his history with Arsenal, Adebayor won the affection of Spurs fans last year, topping the club’s scoring charts with a return of 18 goals in 37 matches while on loan from Manchester City.

Since the 28-year-old signed a permanent deal last summer, he has been unable to find the net as regularly, however. Adebayor has scored three goals in 24 games so far this term, and his performances have lacked the energy and passion he showed last season.

Spurs boss Villas-Boas tipped the former Real Madrid hitman to find his scoring boots soon – starting with this evening’s ties against at Lyon.

“He can still be the player we saw last season,” said the Portuguese, who has to start Adebayor as Jermain Defoe is out with an ankle injury. “We’re trying to unlock the best out of the player. Last year shows as an example for what we’re trying to get out of him. Strikers live off goals and we’re doing everything we can to try and unlock his full potential.”

With four points separating Spurs and Arsenal in the hunt for Champions League qualification, and a place in the last 16 of the Europa League up for grabs this evening, Villas-Boas needs his striker back in form quick and he thinks the player will not be affected by the criticism. “I’m not sure if it bothers him,” the 35-year-old said.

Gareth Bale’s two stunning free-kicks in last week’s 2-1 win against Ligue 1’s second-placed side mean a 0-0 draw at the Stade de Gerland will see Spurs through to the last 16, where they are likely to meet Inter Milan. The Spurs boss confirmed, as was the case in the first leg, Brad Friedel will start in goal.

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