LONDON (Reuters) - Tottenham fans might be rubbing their hands at the prospect of a visit to bottom-of-the-table Sunderland on Saturday, but striker Jermain Defoe says the entire squad is aware of the threats posed by the team led by former Spurs man Gus Poyet.
Far from it being a trip to scoop up three easy points, Defoe said on Friday he has been warning Spurs team mates what to expect at the Stadium of Light as the Londoners look to build on Wednesday’s 2-1 win at Fulham.
“A lot of the lads who haven’t played there before might not know what to expect but we’ve been speaking about it and told them it’s a tough place to go,” the 31-year-old said on the Spurs website.
“But if we play as we did the other night then we should win the game because on our day we can beat anyone with the quality we have in the squad.”
Defoe cited Sunderland’s performances against big clubs as evidence of their quality which, he said, belies their lowly league position.
“Look at teams like Man City, who have already lost there. They pushed Chelsea close in midweek as well,” he said, referring to the 4-3 defeat.
“Every game is difficult and they will be fighting to get a result. They’ve got a good manager who we know well, of course.
“He has good football knowledge, he’s a strong character, he used to play for us and was a coach here too.
“You always know what it’s like when you come up against former players or managers.”
Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen will miss the trip to Sunderland, manager Andre Villas-Boas said, after injuring his ankle in the midweek win.
Emmanuel Adebayor (knee) and Christian Eriksen (ankle) remain sidelined and will miss the late kick-off.
Meanwhile, Sunderland’s Italian full-back Andrea Dossena thinks the game is a great opportunity for the Black Cats to kick-start a reversal of fortunes.
“I see Saturday as a great chance for us,” he told the Sunderland website. “Tottenham are a different side to Chelsea, obviously, and I think if we play like we did against Chelsea we can beat them.
“If we remain focused and keep the momentum going in our favor, there’s no reason why we can’t.”
Writing by Ossian Shine, editing by Ed Osmond