Emmanuel Adebayor 'will keep cool' on Arsenal return says Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp
Friday 24 February 2012
Harry Redknapp is confident that Emmanuel Adebayor will be able to keep his cool during his first outing at the Emirates Stadium as a Tottenham player.
Tottenham and Arsenal issued a joint statement yesterday calling for calm ahead of Sunday's hotly-anticipated north London derby, which has been given an extra edge due to Adebayor's colourful history with the Gunners.
Spurs won the reverse fixture 2-1 back in October, but the game was marred by a series of unsavoury chants from both sets of fans.
A section of the away support sparked outrage by directing chants about the gun attack on Togo players in Angola towards Adebayor, while some Spurs fans directed personal abuse at Arsene Wenger.
The Arsenal fans' hostility towards Adebayor stretches back to 2009 when, shortly after leaving the club for Manchester City, he sprinted the length of the pitch at Eastlands to celebrate in front of the Gunners supporters in his first game against the London club.
Given that he now plays for Arsenal's fiercest rivals, Adebayor can expect even more of a barracking on Sunday, but Redknapp is sure that his star striker will be able to handle the pressure.
"I'm sure he will enjoy going back there," the Tottenham manager said.
"He played well against them at home this year so I don't think it will be a problem.
"I suppose he will get some stick, that goes with the territory when you go back to your old clubs, but I'm sure he can handle it.
"Hopefully he will keep his cool and that's what he needs to do."
Redknapp admitted after October's derby win that he was "disgusted" by the chants about Adebayor.
The Spurs boss, whose team will go 13 points clear of the Gunners if they win, echoed the two clubs' call for Sunday's match to be remembered for the right reasons.
"I don't know why people have to shout abuse and filth at people," Redknapp said.
"I don't understand it. We didn't do it when I was a kid going to watch football. I hope they can go and enjoy the game on Sunday, get behind their team and get on with the game. Don't go there to abuse other people. That doesn't make sense."
Tottenham have spent the best part of the last two decades playing second fiddle to Arsenal, who have been the dominant team in north London throughout Arsene Wenger's stewardship.
But Spurs are now seen as the strongest side in the capital after opening up 10-point lead over both Arsenal and Chelsea.
Redknapp has already worked wonders since moving to Tottenham, transforming the club from relegation candidates to title challengers in little over three years, but he is now hoping the club can go one step further by becoming the capital's top club for years to come.
"I want to be London's top club this year," he said.
"To dominate London would be very difficult because you have two very strong teams in Arsenal and Chelsea.
"They are always going to be there or thereabouts and Tottenham will be as well.
"We have to keep improving. That depends on your ambition and the chairman is ambitious here.
"There is no reason why the club can't keep improving and pushing on."
Spurs have not completed a league double over Arsenal in 19 years but they go in to Sunday's game with a great chance of taking three points.
They have lost just four Barclays Premier League games all season and sit only seven points behind leaders Manchester City. Arsenal, on the other hand, are currently enduring their worst period of Wenger's 16-year-stewardship and have all but given up of winning any silverware.
Some sections of the Arsenal support have suggested their recent failings indicate that Wenger has lost his touch, but Redknapp thinks they would be wrong to dispose of the Frenchman.
"Look at his record, it's fantastic," the 64-year-old said.
"He's brought them Champions League football for how many years running? Fifteen is it? Fantastic. An amazing achievement. What he has done at Arsenal has been incredible."
Rafael van der Vaart, Adebayor, Luka Modric and Benoit Assou-Ekotto all missed last weekend's game at Stevenage but are expected to play on Sunday, leaving Redknapp with an almost full-strength squad to choose from.
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