Andre Villas-Boas talked up ‘influential’ Emmanuel Adebayor before shootout flub

Brooks Peck
Dirty Tackle

Extra time couldn't separate Basel and Spurs after two legs of their Europa League quarterfinal, so it had to be decided with a penalty shootout. With Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe all unavailable for Spurs, Clint Dempsey stepped up with two goals to get them to that point. But in the shootout, it was Emmanuel Adebayor who proved manager Andre Villas-Boas' pre-match comments to be prophetic. Albeit not in the way Villas-Boas intended.

From ESPN, before the second leg:

Tottenham face an uphill battle to seal a semi-final spot after being held to a 2-2 draw by Basel at White Hart Lane last week and, even though the odds appear to be stacked against Villas-Boas' side, he is expecting a new hero to stand up, backing Adebayor to spring back into top form.

"Adebayor has got back in the goals in our recent games and he has shown how influential he can be," Villas-Boas said in his pre-match press briefing in Switzerland.

"He is driven by his last performance and he is doing extremely well. He is really enjoying his football. Finding the back of the net allows him to go into the game with more confidence and I always think it's self-belief from the player, rather than anything else that helps them improve."

Adebayor had scored in each of his two previous matches (his goal against Everton was his first in the Premier League in over three months), so Villas-Boas' comments seemed well founded. But, this being the richly unpredictable Emmanuel Adebayor, he ended up following Tom Huddlestone's saved shot by running in place and then casually launching the ball over the crossbar. Basel won the shootout 4-1 to advance to the semifinals and Andre Villas-Boas learned a valuable lesson about tempting fate.

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