The Tottenham Hotspur manager, Mauricio Pochettino, is determined to stop any “bad energy” between the club’s fans and striker Emmanuel Adebayor from destabilising the team in Saturday’s north London derby.
White Hart Lane is happy place now, but not with regard to Adebayor, who has been booed on his recent appearances at home. Some of the Spurs supporters have not forgiven him for saying, almost three months ago, that the negative atmosphere was impeding the team.
Adebayor is unlikely to start against Arsenal on Saturday – he has done so just once since making those comments, for a combination of reasons – but Pochettino knows that he needs unity and focus for the game. If Tottenham win they will, for a few hours at least, go fourth in the Premier League.
“It is important that the fans forget the past,” said Pochettino, trying to repair the broken relationship between Adebayor and the supporters. “I think he explained why he made the comments. And now, all together, we need to try to get the success. Because we are in a key moment. We need to put out the bad things, the bad energy, we need to try to help each other and try to get the success. This is the important thing.”
Adebayor nearly left on loan on deadline day but Tottenham stopped him from going to West Ham United, his club of choice but rivals to Spurs for the top four places in the Premier League.
Pochettino, who must now rebuild Adebayor’s confidence, insisted that he wanted him to stay, and that the player was close to rediscovering his form.
“I knew he could go and would have been happy to play with two strikers [Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane] for the rest of the season,” Pochettino said, “but the first thing was that I wanted to keep Adebayor in the squad.”
“He is a long way towards recovering his confidence and his levels and that is our job: to try to push him and help him and get him in the best condition to improve quickly. He is in a good mood, he is in a good way.”
While Pochettino asked for some tolerance for Adebayor, he would not promise a return to the team for the striker.
“I need to pick what I believe is the best starting XI to play, or the best 18 players for the squad,” the manager said. “On the human side, we are always here to help him. But it’s my decision, a football decision.”Reuse content