Andre Villas-Boas delighted with selection dilemma presented by return of Jermain Defoe
Striker is hitting form at just the right time says Spurs manager
Thursday 25 April 2013
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas thinks Jermain Defoe has rediscovered his deadly scoring touch just at the right time.
Defoe played some of the best football of his career before Christmas, finding the net 13 times to silence the doubters who claimed he was no longer good enough to cut it in the Barclays Premier League.
His form and fitness dipped just after the new year, however, thanks to a niggling pelvis problem.
The 30-year-old went through a 12-game dry patch, but he looked back to his best on Sunday as he came off the bench to help inspire Tottenham to come from behind and beat Manchester City 3-1.
Emmanuel Adebayor's erratic form had led to fears that Spurs would not have the firepower to keep up with rivals Arsenal and Chelsea in the run-in, but Defoe's return gives Villas-Boas a welcome selection headache ahead of Saturday's trip to Wigan.
"Yes, it's a big decision (to choose between Defoe and Adebayor), but we are extremely happy," Villas-Boas told a press conference.
"It's very important for us to have Jermain back, particularly because he found the back of the net.
"Goalkeepers have been making impossible saves against him and he finally got the ball in the net the other day with a tremendous goal that helped us get the three points.
"It's good because he had a blip in terms of goals, not performances - he was always sharp - but he had a couple of injuries.
"Now he is back he gives us that quality and confidence by scoring."
Villas-Boas is likely to partner Defoe with Gareth Bale - who also scored on his return from injury against City.
Aaron Lennon, arguably as important to Spurs this season as Player of the Year favourite Bale, failed a fitness test prior to last Sunday's game, but Villas-Boas confirmed the England winger is fit to return from his three-week knee injury layoff this weekend.
"He has been training with the team all week so he will be available for selection," the Portuguese said.
"He is a good player to have back, he has had a tremendous impact. It is another big boost for the squad."
Prior to last Sunday, Spurs' form looked to be deserting them in the final straight, just as it had done for the previous two years.
The win over last year's champions has given the squad a boost in morale, however.
"It was inspirational," the 35-year-old said.
"Hopefully with the motivation we had from that game we can get the result we want this weekend and for the rest of the season."
A win against Wigan will push Spurs into third - 24 hours before Arsenal take on the newly-crowned champions Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium.
Chelsea, who are a point ahead of Spurs, take on Swansea on Sunday - less than 72 hours after they play Basle, the team who knocked Spurs out of the Europa League.
Having up to three more games to play during a tight run-in could be seen as a disadvantage for Chelsea, but their former manager disagrees.
"For me it's an advantage when you are at the door of a European final," said Villas-Boas, who won the Europa League with Porto in 2011.
"It's a fantastic final. Obviously for Chelsea they are in it because they have been knocked out of the Champions League. It's not their ambition, not what they strive for.
"But they have done well to make the semi-finals. We would prefer to play that amount of games.
"It's something they have to cope with. They have a big, big squad."
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