Jermain Defoe senses that Tottenham's season is finally under way. The England striker scored twice in Spurs' desperately one-sided 3-1 win at Reading on Sunday, the club's first win this season and the first under new manager Andre Villas-Boas.
After changing managers this summer, as well as selling their chief creators Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart, a transitional phase is inevitable. Teams need time to cohere. Spurs lost their first game before drawing two winnable home matches with West Bromwich Albion and Norwich City.
Two weeks off, though, seem to have provided the necessary settling-in time and breathing space, away from the panic and nonsense of the transfer window. "I think maybe the international break's done everyone a favour really, because everyone goes away and you forget about your club for a bit and then you come back and regroup, and maybe that helped us a bit," explained Defoe.
"Everyone came in and was just raring to go, really looking forward to the game and everyone looked sharp in training and we had a feeling that everything would click."
Last season Spurs started slowly too, not winning their first league game until after the first international break. They finished in fourth place. Defoe must hope for similar improvement this season, and as Villas-Boas teaches his methods, it looks quite likely. "Hopefully, this will kick-start our season," Defoe said. "We've got some great players and a great manager so it all looks really good."
Villas-Boas, a master of tactical detail, is the opposite of what the Spurs players are used to, but Defoe is enjoying the education so far. "Training's always been good, they're good ideas that the manager's got," he said. Tottenham have two home games this week, Lazio on Thursday and Queens Park Rangers on Sunday, and Emmanuel Adebayor may well be brought in for one. But Defoe is confident he knows the role and can keep his place.
"I think if your movement's good and you're sharp around the box then it's not difficult," he said. "If the service is good as well in the middle then it's no problem."Reuse content