Europa League: Defoe fires way into contention for starting role

ANZHI MAKHACHKALA 0 vs TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2

TOTTENHAM manager Andre Villas-Boas has hinted Jermain Defoe may earn his first Premier League start of the season in Sunday’s derby with former club West Ham after hitting his seventh goal in four starts last night.

The 30-year-old also bagged his 21st goal for Spurs in Europe and is now just two strikes away from becoming the club’s all-time leading scorer in European competitions.

Big-money summer signing Roberto Soldado has started all six of Tottenham’s league games as the lone-striker so far this season, but with Defoe in fine fettle Villas-Boas admits he is becoming increasingly difficult to overlook.

“It was another great goal, a great finish,” he said. “It’s really good to see him out there again doing extremely well whenever he’s given the opportunity.

“We have been extremely happy with the performances of both [Defoe and Soldado]. It is a question of deciding what is best for the team.”

Spurs, with eight changes to the side which began the weekend’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea, took the lead on 34 minutes when Lewis Holtby’s precise through pass picked out Defoe who fired into the roof of the net from 15 yards.

And five minutes later Holtby found right-back Kyle Walker in space, whose perfectly-weighted low cross was turned in by Belgium midfielder Nacer Chadli.

In a pedestrian second half Chadli went closest to adding a third for Spurs with a low curling effort from the edge of the box which crept inches wide.