One league goal will set Defoe off on a scoring run, says Ferdinand

Coach backs Spurs striker to break his duck this season and fire Champions League qualification campaign
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The Independent Football

Tottenham Hotspur coach Les Ferdinand believes it is only a matter of time before Jermain Defoe finally scores his first Premier League goal of the season.

Defoe scored 28 times for Spurs last year, but has struggled so far this term, finding the net just five times in a campaign that has been blighted by an ankle injury that kept him out for almost three months.

He is yet to open his account in the Premier League and his last goal for the club came two months ago in the 3-0 FA Cup win over League One side Charlton.

But Ferdinand, who has regular contact with Defoe in his role as Tottenham's forwards coach, thinks the 28-year-old will soon be among the goals.

"People have talked about Jermain Defoe not scoring many goals this season but he was out for three months," Ferdinand said. "He struggled to find his groove again like Wayne Rooney struggled for most of the season, then all of a sudden he scored and went on a run. That's what happens to strikers.

"There is a lot of rotation going on these days, so players are in and out of the side and they are looking for that level of consistency and once you get that first goal you tend to go on a run."

Defoe's strike partners Roman Pavlyuchenko and Peter Crouch have also fared poorly in the league, bagging just eight goals between them, but Ferdinand is confident that they will start scoring again soon. "Peter has saved his goals for the Champions League this season. He has done pretty well in that competition," Ferdinand added.

"We'd all like him to get better in the Premier League but I'm sure that will come. We are not too worried about it because the rest of the team are scoring and as long as the rest of the team are scoring then the team will win games."

Tottenham's hopes of securing a place in next year's Champions League took a blow on Tuesday after Chelsea beat Manchester United to claim back fourth position in the Premier League.

Spurs have enjoyed a fairy-tale debut in this season's competition and Ferdinand insisted everyone at the club is still confident of gaining fourth position despite Tuesday night's setback.

"It wasn't a great result for us as far as us getting into the top four but it was a good result for football," Ferdinand said.

"But there is a lot of football to be played. There are a few games to go and we're pretty confident that we can finish in that fourth spot."

The first-team squad returned to England yesterday, having spent the last five days in a warm-weather training camp in Dubai. Ferdinand hopes the trip, during which Defoe picked up a minor ankle knock, will lift Harry Redknapp's players ahead of Sunday's game with Wolves and the Champions League return leg against Milan next Wednesday.

"The camp did give us a boost," he said. "There was a bit of camaraderie going on, getting away for a bit and it's always great for team spirit. The boys have enjoyed it.

"The boys have had 10 days off now so Harry will be looking to get the players back up to their paces so he will probably play his best team this weekend and we will look to go into the Milan game and try to win that as well," Ferdinand added.