Defoe: Tottenham are a match for anyone in Champions League
Two-goal Jermain Defoe insists Spurs will be match for the best sides in Europe as they head into the draw for the last 16 of the Champions League
JERMAIN Defoe believes Spurs are now a match for anyone in Europe after their 3-3 draw at FC Twente saw them progress to the last 16 of the Champions League as group winners.
Tottenham’s draw, coupled with Werder Bremen’s victory over Inter Milan, sees the Lilywhites top Group A, allowing them to avoid many of the top sides in February’s first knockout stage.
Defoe scored twice in Enschede and, after Spurs became the first club ever to score two or more goals in every group game, he believes Harry Redknapp’s side have fired a warning to the rest of Europe.
“Our displays [in the Champions League] send a good message to our next opponents,” he said. “We’re scoring goals and that makes us a match for anyone. It’s important not to concede too I know, but the main thing is we are creating lots of chances. Whoever we play next knows they are in for a tough game.”
Defoe, starting only his second game since his return from a hamstring injury sustained in September, was delighted to be back in Champions League action, and insists he is nearing his best form again.
“To get a full 90 minutes under my belt is great. It’s now a case of getting a run of games now, to be back to full match fitness,” he added.
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“It has been frustrating for me watching on while the lads have been playing in the Champions League but you have to remain positive. I’ve recovered from my injury, done my rehabilitation and training and now I’m back and raring to go.
“In all honesty, my injury should have seen me out for three months, but I’ve been able to return ahead of schedule and that’s great.
“I put in the work to get me back early and got to a point where I felt ready. I didn’t want to rush coming back, I wanted to feel right and that’s exactly how I feel now.”
Two-goal Defoe’s only disappointment from the game in Holland was that Spurs failed to pick up three points at the Grolsch Veste Stadium, despite having led three times on the night, with an own goal from Peter Wisgerhof adding to the striker’s brace.
“I’m a little bit frustrated that we didn’t get the win,” he concedes. “I thought we did enough to get the three points but it wasn’t to be.It’s always great to score and I’m very happy with my two goals.
“We set out to finish top of the group before the match and we’ve done just that. The manager has been very positive about our performances throughout the Champions League so far and I think he’ll be pleased again with this.”
Topping Group A means Spurs will avoid many of Europe’s ‘top guns’ such as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the draw for the knockout round, which takes place on Friday, December 17.
Defoe is not too concerned who Spurs are paired with next, and believes that the simple objective for is “to keep progressing and get as far as we can.”
The big games will be coming thick and fast for Spurs over next few months, starting with a huge London derby against Chelsea on Sunday.
“It’s another important game [against Chelsea] and the manager will be looking for us to create as many chances as we have did in Holland,” said Defoe.
“We’ve already beaten some top teams this season like Liverpool and Arsenal, so we are really looking forward to testing ourselves against Chelsea on Sunday.”