Adebayor answers penalty critics

  • Last Updated: April 13 2013, 10:04 BST

Emmanuel Adebayor has hit back at the critics who lambasted him for his poor penalty which cost Tottenham a place in the Europa League.

Emmanuel Adebayor: Europa League woe
Emmanuel Adebayor: Europa League woe

Emmanuel Adebayor

Emmanuel Adebayor

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Tottenham crashed out of the competition on penalties in Basle after the tie ended 4-4 on aggregate after extra-time.

Yann Sommer saved from Tom Huddlestone and Gylfi Sigurdsson then scored, but any hope 10-man Tottenham had of advancing to the semi-finals was blown by Adebayor's poor attempt from 12 yards.

The Togolese took a strange, slow, stuttering run up and then cleared Sommer's goal by a foot, before Marco Diaz went on to secure an easy 4-1 shootout win for Basle.

Adebayor's miss drew derision from all quarters, with fans either side of the north London divide and former players like Gary Lineker criticising the 29-year-old's spot-kick.

Adebayor, who scored four penalties for Spurs last season, has defended himself, blaming his missed attempt partly on fatigue and the boggy sodden pitch in Switzerland.

"It's tough," the Tottenham striker said. "You run around for 120 minutes, you give everything you have in your stomach, you are tired, you play with 10 men for 30 minutes and at the end of the day you have to take a penalty.

"The pressure is there when you take the ball. It's not the reason why we missed. We had to score, but it's not easy for us.

"I have taken penalties for Arsenal and Real Madrid. It's a gamble.

"You miss or you score. I missed against Basle. I am very disappointed, but that's football. You just have to keep focused and keep going."

Tottenham's squad will now have a four-day break before reconvening ahead of their vital Barclays Premier League clash against Manchester City a week on Sunday.

Spurs fought hard to take the tie to extra-time last night. Clint Dempsey scored twice to cancel out goals from Mohamed Salah and Aleksandr Dragovic, and just before the end of the 90 minutes Jan Vertonghen saw red for a cynical foul on Marco Streller to make life much harder for Tottenham.

However, with six season-defining games to come shortly, Adebayor knows he and his team-mates must forget about their Europa League disappointment fast.

"I'm very disappointed," he said."Now we've got time off. We'll go home, see our families and forget about what happened and think about the next game"

If their recent poor form is anything to go by, Tottenham are unlikely to be playing Champions League football next season.

Spurs held a seven-point lead over their rivals a matter of weeks ago, but Arsenal could hold the same advantage over Andre Villas-Boas' men by next Saturday if they win their upcoming matches against Norwich, Everton and Fulham.

Having led Arsenal by such a big margin, United States international Dempsey admits Tottenham's season should be deemed a failure if they do not qualify for the Champions League.

"We have to make sure we finish in fourth place and make sure we're in the Champions League next year," Dempsey said.

"That's the only thing we can do to salvage this season and say we had a good year. That's been the goal for the season.

"It's important that we get in to the Champions League."

Villas-Boas admitted in February that failure to qualify would weaken Tottenham's chances of keeping Gareth Bale this summer.

Bale is expected to return from an ankle injury for the City game, but Dempsey is awarehis team-mate's recovery should not mean Tottenham take their foot off the accelerator.

He said: "We've got some difficult games. We've got Chelsea, we've got Man City, so we're going to need everyone fit and fighting to try to push for that Champions League spot.

"It's not going to be given to you. You have to fight until the end and we're still in with a shout to make that happen.

"I think it's going to come down to the last game."

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