Belfast Telegraph

Adebayor's magical touch saves day for slow-starting Spurs

By Kevin Garside

For the Tottenham Hotspur coach Tim Sherwood, this was one to get out of the way, look at the table and raise a toast to Emmanuel Adebayor. Had the previous regime at White Hart Lane been inclined to do the same, Sherwood might still be coaching the kids.

So frustrated had he become with Tottenham's laboured movement he kicked a bottle of energy drink over his counterpart in the Everton technical area.

It was that kind of afternoon for Roberto Martinez, meeting an undeserved end on and off the pitch. Up to that point it was the only shot on target registered by Spurs. That would change emphatically just past the hour.

Everton dominated possession but lacked a striker. Spurs absorbed the pressure then stole the points via the agency of a centre-forward. Adebayor might have been invisible for much of the match but he is no false No 9 with the goal posts in view.

A free-kick by Kyle Walker sought ought Adebayor, who chested it down on the edge of the box and crashed the ball past Tim Howard with his left boot.

"With Ady it is all about how he is being managed," Sherwood observed. "How do you get the best out of him? I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing. He is a good character and shows the right application. I'm just delighted with him at the moment."

Not so with the way his team are playing at home. "We started slow again. We have to find the reason why. Hugo (Lloris) kept us in game early on.

"I have to address it. At half-time I managed to sit them down and have a little chat. I told them we were just waiting to get beat. The contrast between the halves was encouraging. I'm not pleased with the way we are starting.

"I want to play with risk. I want them to move the ball, to see some rotation in the middle of the park, give the ball to players when they are marked. So there is stuff to work on."

And for Martinez, too. His side were enterprising enough but did not threaten Lloris enough for the possession they enjoyed. Martinez has won plaudits this season for the style of his team. They are easy on the eye but of the top six sides, Everton have won the least, only 12 times, and posted nine draws.

"It is fair to say that in football it is better to be lucky than good," said Martinez, lamenting the bounce of the ball.

"Today was a case in point. We had to hit the back of net when we were dominant in the first half. We restricted Spurs to very little. I would have taken one shot on target from Spurs before game, but if we can take this kind of performance into the next 15 games we are going to get a lot of points.

"Hopefully the game won't be this harsh on us. The first goal is always important. We tried everything but Spurs put players behind the ball and hit us on the break.

"But the performance tells us a lot. It shows that we can go to difficult grounds and be ourselves. But when you are the better side you need to win. We didn't do that. The lapse in concentration cost us."

"To perform in the manner we did and not get the result means we need to look internally."

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