Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Martin Chivers chat inspires Jermain Defoe to break Tottenham Hotspurs' Euro record

Jermain Defoe after scoring Spurs' second goal

Tottenham Hotspur 2 Sheriff Tiraspol 1: Jermain Defoe revealed he had been given words of encouragement by Martin Chivers before he surpassed his European goalscoring record in Tottenham's 2-1 win over FC Sheriff in the Europa League.

The England striker converted a penalty to claim his 23rd European goal for the club, one more than Chivers managed during his time at White Hart Lane.

It followed a first Tottenham goal for Erik Lamela as Spurs secured safe passage into the knockout rounds despite Ismail Isa grabbing a goal on 72 minutes to keep the home side on their toes.

All eyes were on Defoe to see if he could make history and he described how he had bumped into Chivers at White Hart Lane last night.

"He's a legend, I saw him at half time," said Defoe.

"He said to me keep it going, you'll get it

"So nice for someone like Martin to say that."

He added: "It was frustrating tonight, I couldn't really get much space.

"I just thought to myself stay patient.

"To go to the top of the list, I'm delighted.

"I was confident, what an opportunity to do it."

Defoe also had words of praise for Lamela, who has been used sparingly since his move from Roma.

He said: "Lamela was unbelievable tonight, good on the ball, strong.

"Sometimes it is difficult coming to a new club at such a young age.

"Delighted for him he got the goal."

Of Spurs' progress to the knockout stages, the former West Ham forward added: "It was never going to be easy.

"The teams, they park the bus and hit us on the counter attack."

Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas is delighted that his side is safely through ahead of Sunday's clash with Newcastle.

He insisted, though, the team would give their all in their remaining two games.

The Portuguese said: "It is a great pleasure, different from last year, we are already there with two games to go.

"We still have to make sure we honour the Tottenham shirt."

The former Chelsea boss praised Lamela, adding: "We were waiting for him to have a game like this.

"Very creative, no fear to face the man and beat opponents and in the end he scored and created the situation for the penalty."

He did though have his regrets saying: "We could have gone on from there and scored more.

"But credit to them. But it was a great overall performance, good to be through."

The first half at White Hart Lane had seen little in the way of creativity from Spurs but they burst into life after an hour with new boy Lamela at the heart of their attacking prowess.

The 21-year-old has yet to start a Barclays Premier League game for Spurs but he made the difference against the reigning Moldovan champions.

Lamela put in one of his most assured performances in a Tottenham shirt and topped it off by tucking away the first goal of the game 15 minutes into the second half, before being tripped inside the box moments later to give Defoe a chance to make history from 12 yards.

But Spurs did not have everything their own way. Sheriff threatened twice in the first half before Ismail Isa grabbed a goal on 72 minutes.

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