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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'