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."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen