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By ESPN Staff

Adebayor expects Gunners' confidence to return

Emmanuel Adebayor expects his winner at Manchester United to trigger an upturn in Arsenal's Premiership fortunes.

Arsene Wenger admitted doubts had begun to creep into the minds of his players after they started the season with two points from three games.

But Adebayor's late strike at Old Trafford yesterday injected new confidence into the Gunners.

Adebayor, 22, said: 'I hope this is a breakthrough for the team. We never got down. We were never out of the race.

'We needed this win and we showed we are a good team. We showed we can play good football. We showed we enjoy playing as a team and working for each other.

'It was a very important game, we won it and I think confidence will come back a little bit.'

The Togo international joined Arsenal for £7million from Monaco in January and scored four times as they made a late charge to finish fourth in the Premiership.

The late winner at Old Trafford, however, shoots straight to the top of his list of favourite goals.

Adebayor said: 'It was the (most) important goal I've ever scored.

'I knew all the fans were watching this game and I had not scored in the Premiership this season.

'I got my chance to play. I enjoy the way Arsenal play and it was important for us to win our first game.

'Now I hope we are going to win a lot of games at home. We have to focus on our next game.'

Boss Wenger admits doubts had begun to creep into the minds of his players after their stumbling start to the season.

Arsenal, Champions League runners-up in May, took only two points from their first three Premiership games of the season.

They have still not won in their new Emirates Stadium and the Frenchman could see signs of confidence dwindling.

Wenger said: 'I think the players did doubt themselves.

'You can tell a team they are great and good but, if it is not confirmed by the points, it has an influence subconsciously and your performances become less convincing.

'In the first three games, we did not get what we could have.

'But since Middlesbrough we have gone to Hamburg and won in the Champions League, now we have beaten Manchester United.

'You cannot do that unless you have special qualities.'

The Arsenal boss also praised Adebayor's efforts, playing alone in attack in the absence of Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie.

Wenger said: 'I feel Adebayor has the characteristics to play up front. He had a great game.

'Thierry Henry is world-class player and we need him. We can live without him for one or two games.

'But it is a team sport and Adebayor brought the team exactly what it needed. He kept going behind, he kept the ball well to bring the others into the game. It was a great help for us.'

Arsenal are seven points behind Chelsea and Manchester United, with a game in hand on them both, and eight points adrift of leaders Portsmouth.

Wenger said: 'There is a long way to go but, confidence-wise, this is a turning point for us.

'We have come to Manchester United, who have won all four games so far, and given ourselves a big lift.

'We needed the points and we needed belief in the side. I strongly believe in my players.

'It is difficult to have the courage to pass the ball like we did. Our position in the table does affect confidence a little bit.

'My question mark was would we have enough belief to play the game like we do. The boys have shown great character.'