x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Spurs goalkeeper calls for Adebayor to start with Defoe

Everton faltering but carrot of Champions League has Jagielka in optimistic mood.

Jermain Defoe celebrates scoring their third goal against Panathinaikos in the Europa League with Emmanuel Adebayor.
Jermain Defoe celebrates scoring their third goal against Panathinaikos in the Europa League with Emmanuel Adebayor.

Brad Friedel, the Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper, believes the time has come to unite strikers Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe as they bid to secure their top-four status in the Premier League.

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has employed the two strikers alongside each other just once in the league this season, and that ended with Adebayor collecting an early red card in a 5-2 defeat at Arsenal.

But with Adebayor available for today's trip to Everton after serving a three-match ban, Villas-Boas could be tempted to start with a two-pronged attack after favouring Defoe as a lone striker for much of the campaign.

The strikers were reunited in the midweek Europa League victory over Panathinaikos, with both players scoring in a 3-1 win.

And Friedel, the 41-year-old keeper recalled against the Greek side in place of Hugo Lloris, believes the performance confirmed their strengths.

"When we have played with two up front, Jermain has really thrived on it, as he can save his energy for when he is inside the box. That is when it really matters for us," Friedel said.

"Last season the system we played was slightly different, with Rafael van der Vaart just behind a lone forward, while at the beginning of this year, injuries meant we didn't have the chance to play with two up front, especially at home."

Villas-Boas's side will be looking for a fourth straight league win against Everton, who, after an impressive start to the season have won just one of their last nine league games to slip from second to sixth in the table.

But they remain one of the hardest teams to beat and have lost just one of their last 12 matches. Last Saturday's 1-1 draw at Manchester City earned them more plaudits, and defender Phil Jagielka believes the club can qualify for Europe for the first time since the 2009/10 season.

Two years ago they reached the knockout stages of the Europa League before bowing out to Portuguese side Sporting.

But Jagielka says the Merseysiders are more than capable of securing a top-four finish and qualifying for the Champions League.

"The Champions League is massive but you don't start making money until the latter stages of the Europa," he said.

"But if you talked to the players about the nights we had three or four years ago, then I'm sure they'll all say it's fantastic.

"It's another cup you want to try to win and they'll be a lot of very good teams in it again next year.

"We'd love to be able to give European football as a thank you to the fans and though all the travel becomes expensive, I know they'd love it."

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