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Friedel calls for Spurs to unleash strike duo

09 Dec 2012 13:46:56

Friedel calls for Spurs to unleash strike duo

Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Brad Friedel says the time has come to unite strikers Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe as they bid to secure their top-four status in the Premier League.

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has employed the two strikers alongside each other just once in the league this season, and that ended with Adebayor collecting an early red card in a 5-2 defeat at Arsenal.

But with Adebayor available for Sunday's trip to Everton after serving a three-match ban, Villas-Boas could be tempted to start with a two-pronged attack after favouring Defoe as a lone striker for much of the campaign.

The strikers were reunited in the mid-week Europa League victory over Panathinaikos, with both players scoring in a 3-1 win.

And Friedel, the 41-year-old keeper recalled against the Greek side in place of Hugo Lloris, believes the performance confirmed their strengths.

"When we have played with two up front, Jermain has really thrived on it, as he can save his energy for when he is inside the box. That is when it really matters for us," Friedel said.

"Last season the system we played was slightly different, with Rafael van der Vaart just behind a lone forward, while at the beginning of this year, injuries meant we didn't have the chance to play with two up front, especially at home."

Villas-Boas's side will be looking for a fourth straight league win after recovering from a run that saw them lose four of their previous five league games and they could finish the weekend in third place if results go their way.

Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen says Spurs -- who will be without hamstring victim Gareth Bale -- must watch out for his Belgium international team-mate Marouane Fellaini.

Vertonghen said: "Fellaini is one of the big players in the Premier League. He does amazing. He's a very difficult player to play against. He is strong in the air and with his feet.

"He is their most important player and it will be difficult to play him. But the way we have played the last three games in the Premier League, we can beat anyone and that is what we will be going for."

After an impressive start to the season, Everton have won just one of the last nine league games to slip from second to sixth in the table.

But they remain one of the hardest teams to beat and have lost just one of their last 12 matches.

Last Saturday's 1-1 draw at reigning champions Manchester City earned them more plaudits, and Everton's England defender Phil Jagielka believes the club can qualify for Europe for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

Two years ago they reached the knockout stages of the Europa League before bowing out to Sporting Lisbon.

But Jagielka says the Toffees are more than capable of securing a top-four finish and qualifying for the Champions League.

"The Champions League is massive but you don't start making money until the latter stages of the Europa," he said.

"But if you talked to the players about the nights we had three or four years ago, then I'm sure they'll all say it's fantastic.

"It's another cup you want to try and win and they'll be a lot of very good teams in it again next year.

"We'd love to be able to give European football as a thank-you to the fans and though all the travel becomes expensive, I know they'd love it."

Jagielka will again captain the side against Spurs in the absence of Phil Neville, who is among those currently working their way back to full fitness after knee surgery.

Kevin Mirallas (hamstring) has been out of action for a month, and remains sidelined for the weekend, while Victor Anichebe (hamstring) is also no nearer to pushing for a recall after seven weeks on the treatment table.


AFP

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