Adebayor double lifts Spurs up to third

    Gareth Bale, left, and Emmanuel Adebayor were key figures in Tottenham's win over Aston Villa on Monday.

    Story highlights

    • Emmanuel Adebayor scores both goals in Tottenham's 2-0 win over Aston Villa
    • Manager Harry Redknapp returns to the dugout following minor heart surgery
    • Home win lifts Tottenham above Chelsea and Newcastle into third place on goal difference
    • Malaga up to fifth in Spain's La Liga with 3-1 win at bottom club Racing Santander
    Tottenham moved up to third in the English Premier League as Emmanuel Adebayor helped welcome manager Harry Redknapp back to the dugout with both goals in Monday's 2-0 win against Aston Villa.
    Redknapp had minor heart surgery three weeks ago, but returned earlier than expected to see his side edge above London rivals Chelsea and Newcastle on goal difference.
    Tottenham now trail Manchester United by four points and Manchester City by nine, with a game in hand on both teams.
    The victory extended Spurs' unbeaten league run to nine matches following two early defeats to the Manchester sides -- the club's best showing in the opening 11 games since the 1967-68 season.
    "I enjoyed the way we played tonight, I think the fans enjoyed it as well -- they've seen lots of great teams over the years and they're enjoying the way this team's playing," Redknapp said.
    "It's great to be back tonight - I wouldn't want to watch it at home again, that was nerve-wracking."
    Adebayor's brace at White Hart Lane represented his first goals for Spurs since a double against Liverpool in his second league appearance for the club on September 18.
    Rafael van der Vaart had netted in five successive games after that before missing the win over Fulham, and the Dutchman's return from a hamstring injury gave Tottenham too much potency for a Villa side which included former Spurs fullback Alan Hutton in right midfield to combat the threat of Gareth Bale.
    But manager Alex McLeish's ploy failed to pay off as Welsh winger Bale caused constant problems, and it was from his scuffed shot after Villa failed to clear a corner that Adebayor acrobatically hooked home the 13th-minute opener.
    The on-loan Manchester City forward, who made his international return for Togo last week, doubled the lead five minutes before the break when he forced in from close range after Villa defender James Collins failed to cut out Bale's teasing near-post cross.
    Adebayor should have completed a hat-trick in the second half but Spurs could not convert their continued dominance into more goals.
    Redknapp was able to bring off Van der Vaart with 20 minutes to play, allowing striker Jermain Defoe a chance to impress ahead of Saturday's trip to West Bromwich Albion.
    Villa stayed eighth on 15 points after 12 games, but have yet to win away in the league this season after four draws and two defeats.
    Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Andre Villas Boas earlier insisted that his job is safe despite Sunday's 2-1 defeat by Liverpool, the club's third in four league games.
    The 33-year-old former Porto coach said his relationship with billionaire owner Roman Abramovich was still good.
    "He didn't pay 15 million euros ($20 million) to get me out of Porto and another fortune to get me out of Chelsea," he said.
    "It is not a question of the owner having patience. I have said we have set out to build something new at this club and the club is committed to what we are building for the future."
    Malaga moved up to fifth in Spain with a 3-1 victory away to struggling Racing Santander on Monday.
    Santander dropped to the bottom on goal difference below Real Sociedad and Granada, whose match against Mallorca on Sunday was called off when a linesman was hit by an object thrown from the crowd.
    Visiting Malaga broke the deadlock three minutes after halftime through teenage midfielder Isco, and a 66th-minute own-goal by Alvaro Gonzalez doubled the lead.
    Manuel Arana gave Santander hope four minutes later, but veteran Dutch substitute Ruud van Nistelrooy set up Uruguayan forward Seba Fernandez for a late volley.