Villas-Boas denies Adebayor unhappiness at Tottenham

The 35-year-old boss hasn't started the striker all season but insists that his time will come in the future after injury ruled him out of Thursday's Europa League clash

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has dismissed reports that Emmanuel Adebayor is unhappy at White Hart Lane after struggling to land a starting berth since signing permanently in the summer.

The Togo international played a key role in the side under former manager Harry Redknapp while on loan from Manchester City last season – scoring 17 goals in 33 Premier League appearances.

But the form of Jermain Defoe and a series of niggling injuries has meant Adebayor is yet to start a game this season, but Villas-Boas doesn't believe there is a problem.

7/1 Tottenham are 7/1 with Paddy Power to beat Maribor 2-1 on Thursday

"Is he happy? I think so. He was massively happy last year at Tottenham," Villas-Boas told reporters.

"Right now things are going excellently for Jermain Defoe, so it’s difficult for Ade who did so well last season.

"But a player of his dimension is always threatening to come in, so I’d say he’s pretty happy."

It was widely expected that Adebayor would be given a run-out against Maribor in their Europa League clash on Thursday night, but a slight back strain has seen him stay in England for treatment instead.

Villas-Boas added: "Adebayor has a pain in his back that he’s had for quite some time. He had it last season too.

"He felt it in training after the Chelsea game so he hasn’t travelled with the team.

"The assessment we do gives us the chance to count on him for the trip to Southampton on Sunday, because there isn’t a lot of time between the games."

With Defoe the only other recognised striker in the first-team squad, the England international is set to step in as his replacement having already started 10 of the last 11 games at club level, on top of his four international appearances this season, but Villas-Boas feels the forward can cope with the busy schedule.

"I am not concerned by his workload,” Villas-Boas continued.

"Certainly we have a couple of games coming up where we may have to address the situation - but not now."

Another who is set to miss the game against Maribor is winger Gareth Bale, who had to pull out of Saturday’s 4-2 defeat at home to Chelsea following the birth of his daughter.

And Villas-Boas has no qualms about the Welshman's mindset should he be selected to face his old club Southampton on Sunday.

He added: "It’s very emotional for him right now, like it has been for one or two of us in the past.

"We’ve no doubts about his mental state for the Southampton game."