AVB: Adebayor free to go to Africa Cup of Nations

Adebayor
Adebayor put in a dominant performance against Reading. Photo: PA

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas was pleased to see Emmanuel Adebayor get his name on the scoresheet in the 3-1 win over Reading, but refused to rule out the possibility of losing the striker to the African Nations Cup.

Adebayor scored Spurs' second goal as they recovered from an early Pavel Pogrebnyak header to secure a victory that takes them above Chelsea and into third place in the Barclays Premier League.

Tottenham skipper Michael Dawson levelled for the hosts with Clint Dempsey's deflected effort sealing the points late on, but it was Adebayor's goal after 51 minutes that stood out for Villas-Boas.

"It was important for him today to score," he said. "He had a couple of situations recently against Sunderland and Villa, it was important for him to get back into the goals.

"Strikers live off goals, it was important for him to score. You see him trying like Jermain Defoe, Clint, and how decisive he is also.

"They want to get in the box, they breathe off scoring goals and it will give him a boost for sure."

It was widely believed that Adebayor would stay at White Hart Lane as opposed to linking up with Togo ahead of the forthcoming African Nations Cup.

But Villas-Boas said he was still unsure over whether he would lose the former Manchester City striker in a fortnight's time and that the decision lies squarely with the player.

"It's a vulnerable situation, anything can happen," he said. "I've told you the player can still go, I understand it is still a possibility.

"It was always his choice, I'm not going to put pressure on him. We've left it to player to decide. If player wants to go, we respect the African Nations Cup."

Reading boss Brian McDermott saw his side put in a valiant effort against an in-form Spurs side and reckons Villas-Boas is building a good squad at White Hart Lane.

"I couldn't fault our players today," he said. "The discipline of the team, you have to come here with a certain way of playing and I thought we were going to get something today.

"You'd take a goal any time, it was a great free-kick and Pavel scored on rebound.

"They had plenty of possession, Andre has put a good side together, it has been building for a while, they have a really good chance - they're going to finish very, very high in this league."

Pogrebnyak's early effort was his fourth league goal of the season but the Russian striker missed a glorious chance to level the match at 2-2 when he headed wide after Hugo Lloris had parried his initial shot.

McDermott bemoaned his side's luck and did not feel they deserved to lose 3-1.

"We had three opportunities at 2-1, if we'd got the second goal it could have gone either way," he said.

"It is disappointing that one of the chances didn't go in, they were good opportunities - it wasn't really a 3-1 game, that didn't really tell the story of the game."