Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino wary of Sunderland hitman Jermain Defoe

Mauricio Pochettino will be wary of a familiar foe when Tottenham face Sunderland and their in-form striker Jermain Defoe today (12.45pm).

Defoe, who has had two spells at Spurs, has scored five times in his last two games for the Black Cats, including a hat-trick in the midweek win at Swansea.

“A great player, a top goalscorer,” Pochettino said.

“His quality is great. It’s not new for us.”

Spurs, seeking their own striker to relieve the goalscoring burden on Harry Kane, are aiming to respond from the midweek loss to Leicester against a side they beat 1-0 in September.

Pochettino is wary of Sunderland under Sam Allardyce.

“All the teams Allardyce has managed are very tough,” he warned.

Spurs are unchanged, with Ryan Mason (ankle), Clinton Njie (knee) and Alex Pritchard (ankle) absent.

Allardyce has told Tottenham’s young guns Champions League qualification would be just reward for their efforts, even if they do miss out on the Barclays Premier League title.

Pochettino’s men sit fourth, seven points adrift of leaders Arsenal, ahead of today’s visit of the Black Cats.

Allardyce said: “I’m not so sure they can hold their nerve — Brendan [Rodgers] couldn’t hold his nerve to win the title with Liverpool a few years ago.

“Right when they needed to be resilient or hold on to the result, they didn’t quite do it, and that can be because of that lack of experience of what you need to do to win a title.

“Listening to my old mentor, Sir Alex, the hardest one is always winning the first one for your players, and particularly the players who are as young as Tottenham’s, so it would be nice if they did.

“But I think their main aim would be to finish in Champions League.”


Lifestyle

Wesley O’ Regan is the General Manager of Popscene in Voodoo Rooms, Cork city. Popscene opened last November and is Cork’s only themed bar that is dedicated to celebrating the best of the 80s and 90s. https://www.facebook.com/PopsceneCork/You've Been Served: Wesley O'Regan, Popscene

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