Emmanuel Adebayor has backed 'best mate' Emmanuel Eboue to return "stronger than ever" after being booed off by Arsenal's own fans.
The Ivory Coast midfielder was making his first appearance after almost six weeks out with a knee problem against Wigan at the weekend, coming on to replace the injured Samir Nasri during the first half.
However, Eboue suffered the ignominy of being hauled off with a couple of minutes left following a run of poor touches that had sections of the Emirates Stadium on his back and left manager Arsene Wenger fearing another lapse in concentration could lead to his team conceding a costly late goal.
Wenger has, though, indicated he intends to include the African in the squad that head out to Porto tomorrow for their final Champions League group match - a need that has been exacerbated by Nasri's latest ankle injury concern, while England winger Theo Walcott remains sidelined.
"We all fight together and I feel sorry for Emmanuel Eboue. He is one of my best mates," said Togo frontman Adebayor, who tried to console the 25-year-old as he left the pitch.
"The fans booed him. However, that is football."
Adebayor told Arsenal TV Online: "He is going to be back stronger than ever.
"We are all sad for him because he has been out for more than a month with an injury and it was his first game back, so it was a bit difficult for him.
"But we are all going to talk to him and hopefully he will be back soon."
The 1-0 win over Wigan on Saturday, which came courtesy of Adebayor's 10th goal of the season after 16 minutes, was a first Barclays Premier League clean sheet in seven games.
It also ensured the north London club remain within striking distance of the leaders and that the hard-earned victory over title rivals Chelsea had not been wasted.
Whether or not Wenger's men - who have also beaten Manchester United this season and face Liverpool at Emirates before Christmas - can find enough consistency to claw back the eight-point deficit remains to be seen.
However, Adebayor insists, with the right collective spirit from a squad now seemingly united under new captain Cesc Fabregas following a troubled spell both on and off the field, the Gunners can yet have a major say in the race for the championship.
"We have to fight as a team and that is how we are going to try to achieve something this season," he said.
"To be champions, you need to [be able to] win every single game.
"We are eight points behind first place and now we just have to control ourselves, not to worry about whether we play with elegance or not.
"The most important thing is not the way we play, it is what we are going to achieve.
"Now we have to forget about how we are going to dribble, how many passes we are going to make - the most important thing is to get the ball in the back of the net and that is it."
Former skipper William Gallas missed the Wigan game with a calf problem, but could well come back into contention for the trip to Portugal, where a win would secure Arsenal top spot and as such a supposed more favourable draw in the last 16.
Midfielder Abou Diaby (stomach muscle) is close to a first-team return, while striker Eduardo is progressing well.
The Croatian international has been out of action since suffering a broken leg in February, but has been scheduled for a run-out with the reserves on December 16 against Portsmouth.
The prognosis, however, on Czech winger Tomas Rosicky and his troublesome hamstring tendon problem, which needed surgery, is not as positive.
He is expected to be out of action until March after making a slow recovery, and will return to the club shortly to continue his rehabilitation work.Reuse content