Adams issues Defoe quit threat

TONY ADAMS has warned Portsmouth owner Alexandre Gaydamak that he will quit as manager if the club sells Jermain Defoe — or any other players he wants to keep — in the January transfer window.

Defoe spurned a hat-trick of chances to bury wobbling West Ham on Saturday, but his off-day did not diminish his standing in Adams’ eyes.

“He is going to help me stay in this job by scoring goals,” Adams reflected. “He’s a threat and I’m sure there will be some big clubs trying to get him but hands off because he’s mine.

“Big offers? I can’t wait because the owner has been very supportive and although I’ve not made an issue of it I’ve told him that everyone stays who I want to stay or I don’t do the job.

“I told him that at the very start. He was very supportive of Harry and now he’s being very supportive of me. He phones me on the way home and says: ‘What do you want, Tony, how can I help you?’ And I say: ‘Keep Defoe where he is and there’s no problem’.”

Reports in September that Gaydamak would either sell Portsmouth or offload star players to ease the club’s debt were seen as a prime reason why Redknapp jumped at Tottenham’s plea to drag them out of the Premier League basement.

But Adams, who claims he has his eye on one or two signings in the next window, clearly has huge faith in his employer’s continuing loyalty to the cause.

Gianfranco Zola, another distinguished ex-player who has been a Premier League manager only six weeks longer than Adams, could clearly do with the same kind of reassurance, given West Ham’s much-publicised parlous financial position.

It is obvious the Italian’s immediate priority is top-flight survival this season. He started well with two consecutive league wins, taking the Hammers up to fifth, but they have been in free-fall since.

This was West Ham’s first clean sheet in 27 matches, achieved through a combination of goalkeeper Robert Green’s outstanding performance in defying Defoe three times, and the striker’s anxiety to stifle the jeers of the home fans who still abuse him for demanding to leave Upton Park as soon as they were relegated five years ago.

It was still not enough to earn Green a place in the England squad for Wednesday’s friendly in Germany, however.

WEST HAM (4-4-2): Green 9, Neill 6, Collins 6, Upson 6, Ilunga 5 (Faubert 61, 6), Behrami 6, Parker 5 (Mullins 75, 5), Collison 7, Sears 5 (Etherington 46, 6), Cole 6, Bellamy 7.

Subs Not Used: Lastuvka, Davenport, Bowyer, Di Michele.

PORTSMOUTH (4-4-2): James 6, Johnson 7, Kaboul 7, Distin 7, Pamarot 6, Diop 6, Davis 6, Diarra 4 (A Traore 19, 6), Belhadj 6, Crouch 6 (Kanu 75, 5), Defoe 7.

Subs Not Used: Ashdown, Hreidarsson, Nugent, Mvuemba, Hughes.

REFEREE: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire) 7: Kept control without recourse to a flurry of yellow cards, which was refreshing.

MATCH RATING: *** Not the worst of goalless draws. Pompey will rue the fact that Green was in such inspired form.

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