Emmanuel Adebayor reveals how he has been 'hanging in there' for his chance at Tottenham

Striker scored on his return having been frozen out by Andre Villas-Boas

Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor insists he will carry confidence and belief into Sunday's Premier League contest at Southampton after making a belated first start of the season.

Marginalised under Andre Villas-Boas, Togo striker Adebayor was selected to start up front alongside Jermain Defoe by interim boss Tim Sherwood in Wednesday night's Capital One Cup quarter-final with West Ham.

A tiring Adebayor was substituted 13 minutes from the end after firing the hosts in front, but the visitors rallied with two goals in the final 10 minutes to earn a 2-1 victory and a place in the semi-finals.

Although disappointed with the result, Adebayor was pleased with his personal performance on his first start since May.

"I've been working on finishing since the start of the season," he told Spurs TV.

"I was hanging in there waiting for my chance. Tim gave me the chance to play football again.

"I've still got my smile on my face. I got a chance, I took it well. I'm very happy.

"Now the most important thing is me scoring goals, confidence is back.

"We just have to keep working hard, put more heart into it and it will be better.

"Hopefully this Sunday we'll have a chance to win it. We have to get out there with confidence, with belief and take the three points."

Spurs captain Michael Dawson, suspended for the tie, admitted the players were culpable for Villas-Boas' departure in his programme notes.

And midfielder Mousa Dembele agreed that the players must accept responsibility for performances and results such as last weekend's 5-0 home loss to Liverpool which ultimately cost the Portuguese his job.

Dembele told the London Evening Standard: "I think everyone feels guilty and that's a normal thing. It's a team sport, it's not one guy who is responsible, everybody is.

"We have talked among the team already and we said to each other 'now let's do it, it's everybody's fault'. We are one team, all together."

Sherwood, who was on the coaching staff at White Hart Lane, was placed in interim control by chairman Daniel Levy on Monday morning, giving little time to prepare for the Hammers match.

"It has been very tough," Dembele added.

"We're used to another manager and now we have this one, but everybody is still positive. You could see that out on the pitch."

Sherwood insisted afterwards that he is uncertain if he will be in charge for the Southampton match, yet he is scheduled to address the media to preview the fixture on Friday.

The former Spurs captain could be in charge for some time yet as Levy and the Tottenham board assess potential long-term successors to Villas-Boas.

Frank De Boer was thought to be in contention, but the former Holland captain has insisted he is focused on Ajax, who he has led to three Eredivisie titles.

It is not inconceivable that Sherwood could be appointed for the remainder of the season, despite not yet possessing the required UEFA pro licence. The qualification is something of a formality.

Longer term there are a number of potential candidates being linked with the role, including Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino, something which brings an added dimension to Sunday's match.

Spurs will be without Andros Townsend at St Mary's Stadium after the England winger suffered a hamstring injury against the Hammers.

Paulinho will serve the second match of a three-game ban for his sending off against Liverpool, but Dawson is available again in defence.

Dembele insists Tottenham have a strong enough squad to cope and welcomed Adebayor in from his exile.

"We have a very good squad and everyone is very hungry because we have a lot of competition for places," the Belgium midfielder added.

"Everybody is very sharp every day but now we need to show it on the pitch that everything is not finished.

"Of course Adebayor's hungry. You could see that in training for a long time. It was not just his goal, he played well in the game.

"He was a target man and when you played it to him, he could return it and we would play off him. I think Defoe played perfect too so we know we have this option as well."

PA

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