PORTSMOUTH, England, August 31 – Manchester City manager Mark Hughes believes Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor is flourishing again because he is happy to have found a club that appreciates him.Adebayor wasn’t missed by many at Arsenal when City paid 25 million pounds to sign him during the close-season after an acrimonious final 12 months in north London.
Arsenal fans were angered by Adebayor’s constant flirtations with the likes of AC Milan, Barcelona and Chelsea, while several Gunners players hinted that the dressing room was a happier place without the forward.
But Adebayor has made a superb start to life with City and Sunday’s bullet header at Portsmouth, which clinched a 1-0 win, took his tally to three goals in three games for his new team.
Adebayor’s form has played an important role in fouth-placed City’s 100 percent start to the season and Hughes said: "It’s clear to see he is happy where he is.
"He’s enjoying playing with good players again and the fans love him. That maybe was missing from his life before.
"I thought he was superb. There was a lot said about Ade as a player and a person, a lot of it with a negative slant. You can only judge people on how you find them and he’s come in and wants to be successful. Those negative things people said I haven’t seen.
"He’s enjoying the team he’s in. He could be at the start of something special and wants to play a big part in that."
After spending over 100 million pounds to strengthen his team since the end of last season, Hughes had to deliver immediately and there can be no questioning results so far.
The City boss believes the likes of Gareth Barry, Kolo Toure, Joleon Lescott and Carlos Tevez – who all followed Adebayor to Eastlands – have added a winning mentality to his squad.
"Last season we were in similar situations and at times we went under on those occasions," Hughes said. "I sense now that happens they thrive on it rather being apprehensive about it. That is a shift in mentality.
"We’ll have stronger tests. I just sense that I have players who are confident. When you go into games against Arsenal (City’s next opponents) you have to go in with confidence."
Portsmouth manager Paul Hart, meanwhile, was encouraged by his side’s performance despite a fourth successive defeat that left them bottom of the table.
"I thought we played very well, I was pleased with the way we went about our job," he said. "I think we lacked a bit of forward movement because when we got behind them we caused them problems.
"It was a great opportunity (for David Nugent) to score at the end and I’m disappointed we didn’t."
England goalkeeper David James was missing with bone bruising to his knee but he has also been linked with a move away from Pompey following the departure of high-profile players such as Glen Johnson, Sylvain Distin, Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch.
"He’s the best goalkeeper in England," said Hart, who insists his goalkeeper has not asked to move. "At the moment he’s injured so you would think that would limit it."