AVB: Adebayor can be new talisman
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has backed striker Emmanuel Adebayor to emerge as his side's new talisman as they prepare for the second leg of the Europa League quarter-final against FC Basel.
Adebayor, who scored his first Premier League goal in more than three months against Everton on Sunday, has been criticised by some Spurs fans in recent months for his disappointing performances since sealing a permanent move from Manchester City last summer.
Tottenham face an uphill battle to seal a semi-final spot after being held to a 2-2 draw by Basel at White Hart Lane last week and even though the odds appear to be stacked against Villas-Boas's side, he is expecting a new hero to stand up, backing Adebayor to spring back into top form.
"Adebayor has got back in the goals in our recent games and he has shown how influential he can be," Villas-Boas said in his pre-match press briefing in Switzerland.
"He is driven by his last performance and he is doing extremely well. He is really enjoying his football. Finding the back of the net allows him to go into the game with more confidence and I always think it's self-belief from the player, rather than anything else that helps them improve.
"His link-up play has improved tremendously. He's been much more involved in the build of play and assisted and created so much, allowing others to flourish."
Villas-Boas went on to suggest the loss of key men such as Gareth Bale, Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon has handed the initiative to Basel in the tie, but he has challenged his other stars to come to the fore in what he expects to be a stern test of his side's credentials.
"They (Bale, Defoe and Lennon) are very important players for us, but what this allows us to do is see other players break into the team and do well and we saw this against Everton," continued Villas-Boas.
"We recognise that the more talented players you have available, the more dangerous you can be and this (injury) situation may give an advantage to Basel, but this can never be an excuse for us because of the amount of talent we have in our team. We have excellent players and have full belief in them.
"Football is surprising and what we have to do is get focused and try to win the game. Play with our ambition and motivation to reach a prestigious semi-final after so many years for Tottenham should be enough to drive us through.
"Basel put us on the back foot in the game at home and we expect to play a difficult game against them. We approach it with our ambitions very, very high."