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

Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
tech
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

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star