The Togo international, who had been marginalised by Andre Villas-Boas, struck in each half as the north Londoners came from behind to win their third consecutive away match
Adam Lallana opened the scoring for the hosts, swivelling on the edge of the box and rifling the ball into the bottom corner. But Spurs launched a counter-attack of their own soon after, with Adebayor volleying in Roberto Soldado's sumptuous cross.
|VIEW FROM ST MARY'S
|By Liam Twomey
A horrible week for Tottenham ends on a high as Tim Sherwood enjoys a victory on his Premier League debut in charge of Spurs, but this day belonged to Emmanuel Adebayor.
The Togo international produced a performance of such industry, quality and determination that every manager who has ever clashed with him will surely be tearing at their hair. His first goal was a thing of beauty, his second the kind of clinical, opportunistic strike the north Londoners have so badly missed this season.
Roberto Soldado's struggles in front of goal continue and Erik Lamela looks no less a square peg in a round hole than he did on his debut, but Sherwood will focus on the positives. His risky, defensive midfielder-less formation worked in spite of several startlingly vulnerable spells, and Tottenham are back on the up.
FoR Southampton, defeated at home in spite of the brilliance of captain Adam Lallana, these are tough times. A season which started so well has lost momentum as a result of a tough run of fixtures and a growing injury list. Perhaps the biggest test of Mauricio Pochettino's burgeoning reputation is how he attempts to turn the tide.
But Tottenham's continued attacking intent under Sherwood was rewarded as Adebayor took control of a loose ball inside the box and curled a left-footed shot into the far corner which would eventually prove decisive.
Adebayor, who had fallen out of favour under former head coach Andre Villas-Boas, was selected alongside fellow striker Soldado in a Spurs side showing six changes from the Portuguese's final game in charge, while Southampton brought in Lallana, Morgan Schneiderlin and Danny Fox.
The hosts initially struggled to retain possession but opened the scoring as Lallana received a pass from full-back Fox before cleverly spinning Vlad Chiriches and placing an effort into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
Buoyed by the goal, Southampton looked comfortable and could have added a second when a flowing move resulted in Jay Rodriguez finding space in the box, only for the former Burnley man to curl his effort wide of the far post.
Tottenham capitalised on the let-off, though, drawing level from a counter-attack in the 25th minute when Adebayor stuck out his right boot to convert Soldado’s pinpoint cross from the left.
The visitors then operated at a higher tempo when the second period got underway, and moved ahead on 54 minutes. Neat interplay between Rose and Christian Eriksen resulted in the former delivering a low cross that was diverted home by the unfortunate Hooiveld.
Southampton were level inside five minutes. Lallana timed a run to perfection behind the Tottenham defence and, as Hugo Lloris attempted to narrow the angle, laid the ball into the path of fellow England international Lambert, who passed into the empty net.
Adebayor once again stepped up for Tottenham, however, pouncing on a loose ball from Kyle Walker's long throw to grab his second goal in the 64th minute.
Soldado missed two clear-cut chances to make the game safe as Tottenham piled on the pressure, but the spurned chances had no impact on the outcome with Southampton unable to force an equaliser. Spurs now sit six points behind leaders Liverpool in seventh, while Southampton remain ninth.