Tottenham 'will miss' Jermain Defoe, admits Mousa Dembele after striker completes deal to Toronto

The England striker scored against Crystal Palace, but will soon be playing in the MLS

Mousa Dembele admits Tottenham will miss Jermain Defoe when he leaves, but the midfielder is confident that the north London club are set for a strong finish under Tim Sherwood.

Sherwood made it four wins from a possible five in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday when his Tottenham team beat Crystal Palace 2-0 at White Hart Lane.

Christian Eriksen put Spurs ahead, but it was Toronto-bound Defoe who ultimately settled the match, firing home from inside the Palace box 15 minutes after his introduction as a second-half substitute.

Spurs confirmed on Friday that Defoe will leave White Hart Lane for Toronto FC at the end of February.

The 31-year-old, for whom Toronto will pay over £8million, has been a peripheral figure at Tottenham this season, but Dembele is still not looking forward to seeing the player depart.

"For us he's very important. I think everyone knows his quality and of course we will miss him, for sure," the midfielder said.

"It was nice for him to score, though. We are happy for him."

Spurs looked unlikely to claim what turned out to be their fifth home win of the campaign after a poor showing in the first half.

Palace should have gone ahead in the eighth minute when Dembele clattered into Marouane Chamakh inside the Spurs box.

Referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot, but Jason Puncheon failed miserably from 12 yards, blasting his effort high and wide of Hugo Lloris' goal.

Palace continued to dominate for the remainder of the first half, and they were unlucky to come away from the game with nothing.

Dembele admits Spurs need to up their game in the coming weeks against better opposition if they are to maintain their push for Champions League qualification.

The Belgian said: "Against other teams we would have lost the game.

"It's difficult to know why we started so slow. We were not good in the first half.

"We played sloppy balls. We weren't concentrated. In the dressing room the gaffer told us (at half-time) we needed to concentrate more and work harder and I think we did."

Still, with Spurs having dropped just two points from their five league games under Sherwood, Dembele thinks Tottenham are looking good in their quest for Champions League football.

This week has been the first time that Sherwood has had five days to get his ideas across to his players because of the hectic nature of the festive period.

Dembele has been impressed with the 44-year-old, whose only previous experience in management came with Tottenham's development squad.

"He gives us a lot of confidence," Dembele said of Sherwood.

"Everyone likes this.

"We didn't have a lot of time to train too much together because of the amount of games but you can see already that our style is good.

"He tells us to attack more but not with too much risk.

"But we still need to do better first half and if we do that then we can do some great things in the second half of the season."

While Tottenham's win kept them in touch with the hunt for a top-four place, Palace slumped to the foot of the Barclays Premier League table.

Results and performances have improved under Tony Pulis, though, so Yannick Bolasie is confident the south London club will avoid the drop.

"We have been at the bottom of the table before and the boys are not discouraged," the winger said.

"Our next game is at home against Stoke - the gaffer's former team - so I am sure he will be fired up for it and the boys will be as well."

Bolasie also backed Puncheon to get over his terrible penalty miss.

"Jason is all right," Bolasie added.

"He doesn't really get down. I think he will be quickly back to himself again."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Environment
Sudan, the last male northern white rhino
environmentThe death of a white northern rhino in Kenya has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells