TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 vs READING 1
TOTTENHAM manager Andre Villas-Boas fears he will lose Emmanuel Adebayor this month to the Africa Cup of Nations, after the Togo striker ended his scoring drought in yesterday’s victory over Reading.
Defender Michael Dawson and midfielder Clint Dempsey also netted as Spurs came from behind to record their seventh win from nine games and climb above Chelsea into third place in the Premier League.
But Villas-Boas’s joy was tempered by uncertainty over Adebayor’s immediate future, the manager admitting the player could yet depart for several weeks if he mends his differences with Togo officials.
“It’s a vulnerable situation, anything can happen,” he said. “The player can still go, I understand it is still a possibility. It was always his choice, I’m not going to put pressure on him. We’ve left it to the player to decide. If the player wants to go, we respect the African Nations Cup.”
Adebayor’s header was only his third goal since making his move to White Hart Lane permanent in the summer, and a first in the Premier League since November.
“It was important for him to get back into the goals,” Villas-Boas added. “Strikers live off goals. They want to get in the box, they breathe off scoring goals.”
Victory tightened Tottenham’s grip on a Champions League place, lifting them one point ahead of Chelsea, who have two games in hand and face Queens Park Rangers tonight, and five clear of Arsenal.
Reading remain 19th and five points from safety, although they looked set for a shock win when Pavel Pogrebnyak put them in front after just four minutes. The Russian was ideally placed to head into an unguarded net when Ian Harte’s free-kick thudded back off the crossbar, although Dawson nodded Spurs level five minutes later from a corner.
Adebayor put the home side ahead for the first time on 51 minutes when he leapt highest and aimed a powerful downward header from Aaron Lennon’s right-wing cross past Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici.
Substitute Dempsey made the scoreline more convincing late on when his 25-yard effort ricocheted off Mikele Leigertwood and looped over the stranded Federici.