Jan 2 (Reuters) - Returning striker Emmanuel Adebayor was 'almost unstoppable' after the Togolese scored the opening goal in a 2-1 win at Manchester United to continue Tottenham Hotspur's recent revival, manger Tim Sherwood said.
Adebayor has flourished under Sherwood since his appointment in mid-December following the sacking of predecessor Andre Villas Boas who had deemed the striker surplus to requirements this season.
The 29-year-old has scored three goals in four English Premier League matches since his return and Sherwood's appointment which has seen them pick up 10 points from those matches to move ahead of United into sixth in the standings.
"We know he is a top striker and one of the best in the league and when he performs like he is at the moment he's almost unstoppable," Sherwood told reporters of Adebayor, who headed Spurs in front at Old Trafford in the 34th minute.
"I think he keeps it going, I have got to think positively and I have got no reason to believe that he won't keep it going.
"He's a top striker and lets hope we can keep him going because he is massively important to us."
While their is little doubt about Adebayor's talents, his attitude has often been questioned, with similar hot streaks at previous clubs Manchester City and Arsenal frustratingly fizzing out with concerns about his commitment.
Sherwood, though, was more worried about the mystery problem that forced his key attacking threat from the field in the 70th minute, shortly after Danish playmaker Christain Eriksen had double the visitors lead.
"He seems happy in himself and wants to play in every minute apart from when he has to come off on a stretcher which is unfortunate," the first-time manager said.
"He has got ice on every part of his body in there so we are not sure what is hurting him more so we will have to assess him tomorrow. We don't know what it is and he doesn't know what is hurting him more."
Villas Boas had favoured just one striker in his more conservative formation, with expensive close season recruit Roberto Soldado frequently selected ahead of backup Jermain Defoe.
The 30 million euro ($41.34 million) Spaniard managed only one goal from open play, though, with Spurs totalling only 15 in 16 league matches under the Portuguese this term before he was fired after the 5-0 home humiliation by Liverpool.
Sherwood has opted for two strikers and Adebayor has played in five matches in a fortnight with the manager acknowledging the demands on his tall Togolese, who had only played 45 minutes under Villas Boas this season, was always risking injury.
"I am amazed (how quickly he has reintegrated) because he's not had too much of a pre-season," the 44-year-old said.
"So its always a danger that you are going to breakdown in the end and I'm hoping he is not too badly injured."
Despite the loss of Adebayor, Spurs held on for victory at Old Trafford with Danny Welbeck's 67th minute goal proving only a consolation.
Injury-depleted Spurs next face arch rivals Arsenal, also suffering similar medical problems, in an FA Cup third round clash at The Emirates on Saturday with Sherwood rightly in buoyant mood.
"I think we have got good players and I think we can effect any team we play against if we play right whether it is United, Liverpool or whoever we play, or Arsenal," he said.
"I just think there is opportunities for our players if we play well and I think at times today (Wednesday) we did that.
"Yeah its crippling the injury list and these boys are having to go at it in this very tough period on their own.
"This is as big a squad as we have got, what you saw here today is as many fit players as we have got, apart from dragging in a few more of the young kids, we had a couple on there today, so credit to the boys they have really dug in and showed a lot of character over this period." ($1 = 0.7257 euros) (Reporting by Patrick Johnston; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)
- Sports & Recreation
- Emmanuel Adebayor
- Tim Sherwood
- Andre Villas Boas
- Manchester United