The unpredictable striker looked set to leave Spurs in January when he was not figuring into Andre Villas-Boas' plans, but since the sacking of AVB the Togo international has had a point to prove.
Sherwood said before the game he felt the North London side needed changes, and the key shake-up came in the form of a 4-4-2 formation with Adebayor partnering Roberto Soldado. On the day, it paid off.
After scoring in spectacular fashion in the midweek League Cup defeat to West Ham, Adebayor made it three goals in a week with an acrobatic first-half volley to finish a fine Soldado cross, before netting the winner in the second half with a great turn and finish.
Adam Lallana had opened the scoring with a tidy low finish, and the Saints skipper continued to bolster his England credentials with a fantastic assist for Rickie Lambert to make it two apiece after an own goal from Jos Hooiveld put Tottenham ahead.
Skipper Lallana's great performance was little consolation for the fact that Southampton, managed by rumoured Tottenham job candidate Mauricio Pochettino, are slipping down the table fast after their hot start to 2013/14.
PRE-MATCH – Sherwood takes charge of his first Premier League game as interim Spurs coach. No sign of Brazil duo Paulinho or Sandro, though Aaron Lennon’s absence is already established as being due to injury. Pochettino also confirms prior to kick-off that Luke Shaw misses out because he is unwell.
13’ GOAL SOUTHAMPTON! - Danny Fox strides forward and cuts inside, feeding Lallana short. A great turn takes him away from Michael Dawson and the skipper opens the scoring with a low drive into the corner. Welcome to the Premier League, Tim. 1-0!
23’ - Almost 2-0! Danny Rose slips in possession and Saints almost punish him as Calum Chambers feeds Lallana who sets up Jay Rodriguez first-time, and the striker leans back too much as he curls narrowly over the top corner.
25’ GOAL SPURS! - At the other end, Adebayor levels the game! He almost overcooked a ball down the left to Soldado but the Spaniard keeps it in play before crossing for the Togo man to hook his foot around the ball and volley from close range at full stretch. Great goal all around. 1-1!
50’ - Premier League debut for Spurs academy graduate Nabil Bentaleb, who replaces Mousa Dembele after the Belgian picked up an ankle niggle in a tangle with Lambert.
54’ GOAL TOTTENHAM! - A Hooiveld own goal! Unfortunate for Southampton but that was great play by the visitors to force the error. Adebayor and Soldado link up well again before Christian Eriksen keeps the attack alive, feeding Rose whose low cross is put beyond Paulo Gazzaniga by his own centre-back. 1-2!
59’ GOAL SAINTS! - It's 2-2! They didn't have to wait long as Lallana adds a brilliant assist to his opening goal, with a good first touch on a probing forward pass before cutting back for Lambert to fire into an empty net with Hugo Lloris rushing out to the captain.
64’ GOAL! SPURS LEAD AGAIN! - Adebayor with his second from an attacking throw routine as a one-two with Nacer Chadli takes a fortunate deflection, allowing the striker to turn and lash home another from a tight angle. 2-3!
Spurs win their third away game in a row, coming back from 1-0 down in all three of them.
Emmanuel Adebayor scored his 85th Premier League goal with his second of the game, meaning he has now scored more in the English top flight than Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez (both on 84).
Southampton’s last 11 PL games have all seen a goal before half time.
Saints have conceded a goal in their last four home PL matches, after keeping four home clean sheets in a row before then.
Does this win really strengthen Sherwood's hopes of a permanent job offer? Well, no. Look, Sherwood is a nice enough football guy, and to his credit his peculiar line-up for the game paid off, Erik Lamela excluded. But it'd be foolish to overlook the fact that Southampton are out of form at present, Jos Hooiveld was a proverbial open door at the back and Adebayor is notorious for failing to sustain these conveniently-timed sparks of form. There's a long way to go for the ex-Spurs player.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Adam Lallana, Southampton - That's right, not Adebayor. Admittedly, there was about a hair's width between the two, but Lallana's goal-and-assist performance cannot be buried underneath Adebayor's return to form, just because the striker's performance was the most surprising of the two.
SOUTHAMPTON: Gazzaniga 6, Chambers 8, Lovren 7, Hooiveld 3, Fox 5, Cork 6, Schneiderlin 7, S. Davis 6, Lallana 9, Rodriguez 6, Lambert 6. Subs: Ramírez 5, Ward-Prowse 5, Gallagher 6. TOTTENHAM: Lloris 5; Walker 5, Dawson 6, Chriches 7, Rose 6; Lamela 4, Dembele 6, Eriksen 7, Sigurdsson 6; Adebayor 9, Soldado 7. Subs: Bentaleb 6, Chadli 7, Defoe n/a.