Belfast Telegraph

Defoe unfazed by pressure to score

Striker Jermain Defoe was parachuted into Sunderland in January to deliver the goals to save them from relegation but he insists it is a burden he is happy to shoulder.

While he has hardly been prolific, in the four matches in which he has scored since arriving from Major League Soccer side Toronto, the Black Cats have taken 10 points.

His close-range effort in the crucial 2-0 win at Everton helped lift the side out of the relegation zone and they are two points clear with three games to play.

The 32-year-old Defoe remains hopeful he will be spending the remainder of his three-year contract playing top-flight football with the club and scoring on a more regular basis.

"It is a lot of pressure (scoring goals) because we are scrapping for results and it's not easy but it is important to just go out and enjoy your football and all the rest will take care of itself," he said.

"I'm lucky enough over my career wherever I've been I've always been able to score goals.

"I think people know now what I bring to a club and bring to a team.

"It was just a case of coming and trying to do what I've done throughout my career and that is work hard and get myself in the areas to score goals.

"Most importantly it is to do it in the big games, the games you know you have to turn up and try and make something happen.

"It's been difficult this season, every game is difficult, scrapping for results but it is important to work hard, wait for that luck and retain your belief in your ability.

"It is a case of getting in the right areas. I had to get in the box (against Everton), and was in the right place, the ball came to me and it was a tap in.

"It was a big goal, and we hope it is going to be important."

Of equal significance was Danny Graham's opener, fortuitously deflected in from Jordi Gomez's shot.

It was the striker's first goal for the club since joining almost 28 months ago and while it may not win any goal of the month competitions, Defoe insisted it was significant for both the team and the player.

"It's massive. He has been unbelievable, even in training he is banging in goals every day," he added.

"What he brings to the team is that work rate. It is unbelievable. He keeps running, keeps running.

"If you continue doing that you will always get lucky and he got that.

"Hopefully he will do the same next week and I'd be delighted for him.

"It is an important goal. Even if he scored 20 goals beforehand it doesn't matter because at the end of the day it was a massive goal.

"You would never look at him and think he has had a hard time, he is always positive.

"He is a great lad and he works hard for the team and the lads were delighted for him.

"It is difficult because he is up there on his own with me and Connor (Wickham) on either side of him but he was brilliant.

"It was only a matter of time before he got his goals."


From Belfast Telegraph