AVB: Adebayor crucial to success
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas believes misfiring striker Emmanuel Adebayor could hold the key to his side's hopes in the final quarter of the season, urging his players to emerge from the shadow created by the in form Gareth Bale.
Bale, 23, has scored Tottenham's last six goals in all competitions, with his two brilliant free-kicks giving Villas-Boas's side a 2-1 advantage heading into the second-leg of the last-16 Europa League tie with Lyon on Thursday night.
Now Villas-Boas wants to see the rest of his squad rise to the challenge and he has identified Adebayor as a player who has the potential to share the burden of expectation with Bale, backing the Togo hitman ahead of the clash with Lyon.
"We are trying to unlock the best of Adebayor again," Villas-Boas said. "We want him at the same level as last year and we're doing everything we can to try and help him reach that level.
"Last year shows as an example of what we're trying to get out of him. The team has adapted its style of play, which can relate to the dynamic of how he adapts to the other players.
"Strikers live off goals and we're doing everything we can to try and unlock his full potential. We have been speaking to him about how he can get into that goalscoring positions and I have confidence in Ade.
"I'm not sure if it bothers him (how people view him). Players build their own motivations. Perceptions and media opinions can influence the public in general, but I think the player strives on his own motivation in the end.
"The injuries and the Africa Cup of Nations took him out for lots of matches, but with the run we have until the end of the season he can still be the player we saw last season."
Meanwhile, Villas-Boas has moved to try and relieve some of the pressure on star man Bale, with all eyes set to fall on the 23-year-old once more as Spurs look to protect their lead in Lyon.
When asked whether Tottenham are too dependent on Bale to win them games, Villas-Boas said: "A lot of big teams have this problem. Barcelona rely on Messi, Real Madrid rely on Ronaldo. The great players have to make the difference. They are the stars and Gareth has been magnificent this season."