Spurs march on but Villas-Boas faces striker headache after injury to Defoe

WEST BROMWICH ALBION 0 vs TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1

TOTTENHAM manager Andre Villas-Boas admitted that he is sweating over the fitness of Jermain Defoe after the striker limped out of yesterday’s win at the Hawthorns.

A second half strike from Gareth Bale earned Spurs all three points against West Brom, who played nearly half of the game with 10 men due to Goran Popov being sent off for spitting towards Kyle Walker.

Without Defoe, Tottenham are lacking a recognised senior striker – although soon Villas-Boas will be boosted by the return of Emmanuel Adebayor, whose Togo side were knocked out of the Africa Cup of Nations by Burkina Faso last night.

“Hopefully it will only be two to three weeks,” he said of Defoe’s injury. “He has some ligament damage to his ankle. We will have to see the full extent of the injury. But we will miss him badly.

“I can understand you don’t see a striker but I think we have goals throughout the squad.”

Defoe has been pulled out of the England squad for Wednesday’s friendly against Brazil, while former Spurs midfielder Michael Carrick has also withdrawn from the Three Lions squad.

Defoe came off seven minutes before the break yesterday, and was replaced by new signing Lewis Holtby.

Holtby took up a midfield role while, with Spurs not having another striker to call upon, Clint Dempsey moved up front.

And shortly their chances were improved by the home side being reduced to 10 men. Popov was unhappy at being challenged by Walker, and by spitting in the Spurs defender’s direction earned himself a straight red card.

Spurs pushed forward and on 67 minutes found the goal they needed, as Gareth Bale cut inside James Morrison and let rip with an unstoppable left- footed drive from 20 yards.