Mauricio Pochettino has urged Tottenham fans to stop booing Emmanuel Adebayor for the betterment of the team.
After nine weeks out through injury, illness and family issues, the divisive frontman returned to action as a second-half substitute in last weekend’s 2-1 win against Sunderland.
Adebayor’s comeback was not universally welcomed, though, as section of the White Hart Lane crowd jeered his introduction – a reaction he received once again when leaving the field in Wednesday’s Capital One Cup semi-final against Sheffield United.
That reception appears to be a fall-out from his comments in November suggesting Spurs would rather play away due to the pressure being put on them, compounding a perceived lack of interest from the highly-paid striker.
However, Pochettino says the booing has to stop if Tottenham are to enjoy a successful campaign.
“I think this is the best because all players need to feel the support from the stands from our supporters,” he said.
“I think it’s better for him and for the team. We always need to create a great atmosphere to try to get success.”
Adebayor captained the side against the Blades and could do again when Leicester arrive in the FA Cup on Saturday, depending on whether Younes Kaboul or Hugo Lloris feature.
Nacer Chadli remains absent on compassionate grounds for the fourth-round clash, although club-record signing Erik Lamela is back in the fold after a calf complaint.
Pochettino could rotate his squad with the second leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final against United coming up on Wednesday – a match Spurs enter with a narrow 1-0 lead.
“We need to keep fighting in the four competitions,” the former Argentina defender said. “You can see that we have ahead a very busy period, a lot of games.
“Tomorrow will be the 37th official game, that’s nearly one season, and so we need to keep all of our players in a good condition to fight in the four competitions.”
Since facing Sheffield United, Kyle Naughton has moved to Swansea for £5million in search of first-team football.
Pochettino supports the full-back’s decision to leave but was coy when asked if Aaron Lennon could follow suit, with Hull reported to be heavily interested.
“I think we need to ask him if he is not happy with his situation,” he said.
“I think I can explain the situation of Kyle, but Aaron is our player, he is in our plans.
“He does not need to speak about that [playing more]. All players who don’t play with regularity in the starting XI want to play. This is explicit.
“Players do not need to explain to me that they want to play more. I know.”
Pochettino refused to rule out anyone else leaving this month as well as the chance of arrivals at White Hart Lane, saying “you never know in football” in answer to both questions.
However, one player unlikely to arrive in north London is Eran Zahavi of Maccabi Tel-Aviv – heavily linked to Tottenham in the Israeli media.
“Who? It’s the first time I’ve heard his name, sorry,” Pochettino said.