Jan 23, 2015

    Spurs boss stands by Adebayor as captain


    MAURICIO Pochettino has defended his decision to name Emmanuel Adebayor as Tottenham captain, after the striker was subjected to more abuse from fans during their League Cup semi-final win over Sheffield United.

    The Spurs manager gave Adebayor the skipper's armband for Wednesday's 1-0 first-leg success at White Hart Lane, just days after fans had given him a hostile reception on his return to action after two months on the sidelines.

    The former Arsenal and Manchester City star angered sections of the north London club's fan base earlier this season by claiming that Tottenham's players preferred away games because they struggled to cope with the unrealistic expectations of supporters.

    He was booed after coming on as a substitute against Sunderland at the weekend for his first appearance since those controversial comments, but Pochettino was still willing to give him the captaincy against Sheffield.

    It was a bold decision by the Tottenham manager, which backfired as Adebayor delivered a lacklustre performance before being substituted early in the second half to more jeers from fans.

    Pochettino insisted Adebayor had been named as one of three potential captains in pre-season, and as the others - Hugo Lloris and Younes Kaboul - did not play on Wednesday, it was the Togo player who led the team.

    "He is one of our three captains. I had no doubts (about giving him the captaincy)," Pochettino said. "I made the decision seven months ago that Kaboul, Lloris and Adebayor could be captain."

    Pochettino claimed not to have been aware of the taunts that followed Adebayor back to the bench, but he did concede that the towering forward, who missed a good chance to open the scoring in the first half, could do with an infusion of confidence.

    "I didn't hear the crowd's reaction. For me, I am focused on the game. I am happy with his performance. He was good," Pochettino said.

    "In the end, we need to give confidence and hope they have the possibility to score.

    "In football, you never know. Maybe in the next game, he will get a goal and then score many more."

    Adebayor's travails were symptomatic of the malaise that gripped Tottenham for much of an underwhelming performance, which saw the Premier League club easily held at bay by their third-tier opponents.

    They were fortunate that Sheffield's disciplined display was eventually undermined when defender Jay McEveley's handball conceded a 74th-minute penalty, which Andros Townsend swept home to secure a slender advantage ahead of the second leg at Bramall Lane on Wednesday.