Emmanuel Adebayor: Tottenham must exploit Manchester City's internal tensions

Striker seeks to incite in-fighting at his old club as Tottenham look to claim top-four spot

Emmanuel Adebayor believes that Tottenham Hotspur can take advantage of his old club Manchester City's tendency for in-fighting in order to confirm their place in the Champions League.

Tottenham have six matches in which they must, in the words of Clint Dempsey, "salvage" their season. A top-four finish in the Premier League would guarantee a place in Europe's main club competition and assuage the pain of their defeat to Basel on penalties in the Europa League last week.

Spurs did not return to training until Tuesday. Thereafter, they have had to prepare their minds and bodies for Sunday's match against Manchester City, the reigning champions, who sold Adebayor to Spurs for about £5m last summer.

Tottenham are three points behind third-placed Chelsea, and two behind Arsenal, whom Adebayor left to join City in 2009. Spurs have a game in hand on Arsenal but both their London rivals have a much better goal difference.

Yet despite Spurs' uncertain form, Adebayor is convinced that a win over City will revive them – and the forward alluded to a fragile team spirit at City that he is convinced Spurs can exploit. "I think that will be the decisive game for us," Adebayor said. "If we win that game, the confidence will definitely be back, we will have a chance to finish in the top four because we have got five more games to go, we get all our big players back.

"We have to put them under pressure and for sure, we have a chance to win. I played at City and whenever things are not going their way there will definitely be a fight or an argument on the pitch and that is how we can take them down.

"It's going to be important for me to prove how good I am, but I don't have anything to prove to City. They bought me expensively [for about £25m] and sold me cheap. I don't have any pressure that says I have to beat them for the way they treated me. I just have to find a way to help Tottenham win the game.

"Hopefully we will have some players back from injury like Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon, Younes Kaboul and Jermain Defoe. With a full squad, we have a good chance of finishing in the top four. Reaching the Champions League and the last eight of the Europa League would be a perfect season for us."

Adebayor took a very poor penalty in the shoot-out in Basel, lifting his shot over the crossbar, but was philosophical about the error. "It's a gamble: you miss or you score," he insisted. "We are out and we just have to keep going."

Head coach Andre Villas-Boas hopes Bale, the club's top scorer this season with 22 goals, will have recovered from his ankle injury in time to face City. Spurs' chances of reaching the Champions League depend heavily on how quickly the Welshman can return – as, indeed, do the club's prospects of keeping him beyond the summer.

When Spurs chairman Daniel Levy hired Villas-Boas to replace Harry Redknapp last summer, the Portuguese was told to deliver Champions League football. He stressed throughout the season that the Europa League would be a finishing school for more prestigious continental battles. Only time will tell whether Villas-Boas's insistence on playing strong teams in the Europa League has left his key players short of energy for the final push.

"We have to make sure we finish in the top four and that we're in the Champions League next year," said Dempsey, whose two goals against Basel were not enough to save his team. "That's the only thing we can do to salvage this season and say we had a good year. That's what we're focusing on.

"Is it as black and white as that? Yes, because that's been the goal for the season. We wanted to go as far as we could in all competitions and try to win something. We've not been able to do that so now the only thing we have left to play for is a Champions League place.

"It's just going to be a grind until the end of the season and I think it's going to come down to the last game. We're going to try our best to make sure we focus on the group we have. We can't control anything other than that."

News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress among those on 'master list' of massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor