Adebayor scores twice as Tottenham beat Saints
Emmanuel Adebayor continued his Tottenham renaissance on Sunday, scoring twice to clinch a 3-2 victory at Southampton in Tim Sherwood's first Premier League match in temporary charge of the London club.
Frozen out by Andre Villas-Boas, who was fired on Monday, Adebayor has quickly repaid the faith Sherwood has shown in him.
After scoring in Tottenham's League Cup loss to West Ham on Wednesday, Adebayor kept his place in the starting lineup and secured the victory that puts his seventh-place team just six points behind leader Liverpool.
After Adam Lallana put Southampton in front, Adebayor volleyed Tottenham level in the 25th minute on his first league start of the season.
Tottenham went in front through Jos Hooiveld's own goal and, after Rickie Lambert tapped in a Southampton equalizer, Adebayor slotted in the winner.
"I want to thank all my teammates, they have been there for me, they tell me to keep working hard and my chance will come," Adebayor said. "To be here today I am very pleased, not just the goals but for the team and I am very happy for the new manager, the fans. They have been supporting me."
The Togo striker has struggled since his brother died earlier this year.
"It was emotionally difficult, he was my senior brother, for me, it's for him," he said. "He left a son behind. I want to take care of him and his family. I went to the funeral and when I came back I lost my place in the team.
"I kept doing my job and as my father told me 'keep working hard'. Today it paid off and I am very happy."
Belying the sense of a club in crisis, Tottenham has the best away record in the league this season.
But uncertainty over the manager's position continues, with Sherwood unsure if he will remain in charge for the next match, on Thursday against West Bromwich Albion, which is also searching for a new manager.
"I don't want (the job) on a temporary basis - I want it for the long term," Sherwood said.
Just a week after a 5-0 rout by Liverpool heralded the end of Villas-Boas' reign, this was a transformed Tottenham side - in the second half at least.
Mauricio Pochettino's injury-hit Southampton side had been more dangerous from the start.
A Lambert free-kick beat the wall but not goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, but the next attempt on goal was too good for the Frenchman to stop.
Danny Fox burst forward and fed Lallana, who turned Vlad Chiriches on the edge of the box before firing a low strike into the bottom corner.
Sherwood was somewhat fortunate not to see his side go further behind as Southampton's England trio linked up superbly.
Lambert was allowed time to cut the ball across for Lallana, whose fine touch played through Jay Rodriguez, although he was unable to direct his effort on target.
It was a missed opportunity Southampton was made to rue in the 25th as a rejuvenated Adebayor struck home, with Roberto Soldado keeping his wayward pass in and swinging over a cross that the striker turned home with a superb hooked volley.
Tottenham ended the half in the ascendancy and continued in the same manner when play resumed, although injury meant Mousa Dembele soon had to be replaced by 19-year-old debutant Nabil Bentaleb.
Despite the enforced alteration, the visitors remained on top and it was no surprise when they went ahead in the 54th.
Christian Eriksen played through Danny Rose, whose low cross from the left was turned by Hooiveld into his own goal.
The lead only lasted five minutes.
Jack Cork played a defense-splitting pass through to Lallana and, with Lloris having rushed off his line, the Southampton captain squared for Lambert to send the ball into the empty net.
After doing well to prevent Adebayor putting Tottenham back ahead, Paulo Gazzaniga was soon beaten by the former Arsenal striker after calamitous defending from a quick throw-in allowed him to strike home.
Further chances followed for Tottenham as Soldado burst clear on goal and somehow shot wide, before then meeting a fine cross from the right but directing a six-yard strike into the ground and over.
Southampton, though, couldn't beat Lloris again, and remains ninth in the league.