Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Defoe delivers for Tottenham Hotspur but bench awaits

On target: Jermain Defoe opened the scoring for Spurs

Anzhi 0 Tottenham Hotspur 2: Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas praised Jermain Defoe after he moved within a goal of Martin Chivers' club record European haul in the win at Anzhi Makhachkala – a performance seemingly not good enough to stop him returning to the bench.

The 30-year-old's first-half strike put Spurs on course for a second win in the Europa League and moved him one goal behind Chivers' record of 24.

Fans' favourite Defoe is fifth in the club's all-time scoring list and last night's goal was his seventh in four starts this season.

Such scoring form, though, has so far not been enough to persuade Villas-Boas to start him in the Premier League.

Big-money summer signing Roberto Soldado has been preferred as lone striker and appears set to replace Defoe in the starting line-up in Sunday's return to league action against West Ham.

"We have to judge recovery and the fact that JD was involved today and Soldado wasn't," Villas-Boas said.

"Everything will come into consideration. We have been extremely happy with the performances of both. It is a question of deciding what is best for the team.

"It was another great goal, a great finish. It's really good to see him out there again doing extremely well.

"He is a great professional, has a great attitude and now he's only one off Martin Chivers so it's a real achievement for him.

"I think he has the ambition to go even further up the ladder in this record tally and as an all-time goalscorer, so I think that plays highly in his motivation."

Spurs will return to domestic action buoyed by their confident, if comfortable, win in Russia.

Defoe put Spurs ahead after 34 minutes, with Nacer Chadli sweeping home five minutes later to wrap up a 2-0 win.

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