Mauricio Pochettino never wanted Emmanuel Adebayor to leave and has urged everyone connected with Tottenham to put the past behind them.
A divisive figure at White Hart Lane, Adebayor looked set to leave the club before Monday’s transfer deadline, having plumped for a loan move to West Ham.
However, the intervention of chairman Daniel Levy means the highly-paid striker will remain at Spurs for the rest of the season – a decision which pleased Pochettino, despite having been ready to see Adebayor leave.
“I knew he could go and I would have been happy to play with two strikers for the rest of the season,” the Tottenham head coach said.
“Possibly, we could have used Nacer Chadli or Erik Lamela, but the first thing was that I wanted to keep Adebayor in the squad. It is important to clarify that.
“After, when the players want to play more or some club calls them, and they want to leave because they feel they can play more, it becomes a club decision.
“It is not only about love. In the past it was difficult for him and what was happening.”
Adebayor has started just one game since early November due to time sidelined through injury, illness and a period of compassionate leave.
However, Pochettino says he has a “long way” to go to recover his fitness and, just as importantly, confidence – something which had been hit by his own supporters.
Adebayor says the recent booing aimed at him by Tottenham fans made him “very sad” and Pochettino has echoed his calls for everyone to move on.
“It’s important that the fans forget the past and I think he explained why he made the comments,” the former Argentina defender said.
“And now, all together, we need to try to get the success because we are in a key moment.
“We need to put out the bad things, the bad energy, we need to try to help each other and try to get the success. This is the important thing.”
Adebayor may have been ready to leave for West Ham, but Pochettino says Aaron Lennon was the only player to explicitly say he wanted to go.
“It’s easy to identify the players who aren’t happy, because they’ve not played much in the last few months,” Pochettino, who was prepared to let Younes Kaboul and Etienne Capoue leave, said.
“But we are a club and when you sign a contract as a player you need to understand that you don’t sign to play, you sign to train.
“And then the club signs a manager or head coach to pick the players. This is football.”
It will be interesting to see whether those close to an exit will feature in Saturday’s north London derby – ahead of which Pochettino expressed his admiration for Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger.
“It is difficult for me to imagine the next season, so 18 years – woah,” he said.
“This is why I admire so much Arsene because it’s not easy for a manager to stay in the same place a lot of time like him.”
Pochettino also admires the “perfect” balance Wenger has struck between young players, current stars and experienced older heads.
“We need to settle the basis for the future,” the Spurs head coach added.
“When the new stadium comes, we need more income, more business, very good for our fans, nice stadium.
“It’s all much better, but we are focused on the present too. We have a plan for the present and for the long-term. This is what the people need to know.
“Football is present because Saturday is a big game for us. It’s no more than Saturday, and for our supporters too.
“We need to understand that we need to get the good results now to develop in a very good way our future, like a club.”
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