• Premier League

AVB: Defoe on a par with Falcao

ESPN staff
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Jermain Defoe has earned high praise from Andre Villas-Boas © PA Photos
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Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has claimed his in-form striker Jermain Defoe is just as valuable as £50m rated Atletico Madrid superstar Falcao.

Villas-Boas led FC Porto to Europa League glory in 2011 thanks to the inspiration of the striker, who has been linked with moves to Chelsea and Manchester City in the January transfer window.

The Tottenham boss has paid a gushing tribute to his latest goal getter by placing him in the same class as one of the world's most prized strikers.

Defoe bagged two more goals as Spurs got back to winning ways against West Ham on Sunday and Villas-Boas is backing his talisman to continue his stunning form in Wednesday night's game against Liverpool at White Hart Lane.

"Jermain is one of the best and I certainly put him alongside Falcao," Villas-Boas said. "His hunger for goal is extreme. The experience I have is with a couple of top strikers, but I put him up there with the best.

"When games are as difficult, you need players to unlock the game and make the most of opportunities, or an individual moment of brilliance.

"I certainly had that with Falcao. Sometimes you would think that he wouldn't be there to reach a cross and he would appear out of nowhere. Jermain is the same. It's these moments of brilliance that can turn games."

Defoe, 30, is slipping towards the experienced ranks, but Villas-Boas does not believe he has lost any of the pace and verve he had in his youth.

"He's still very, very fast and his hunger is massive," Villas-Boas said. "This is what pleases you as a manager. It makes things easier for you to work with because you don't have to teach a lot.

"He smells every cross and when the opportunity is there to tap it in. Plus he has the ability to turn on the defenders and he still has the pace in him to cause chaos."

Meanwhile, Villas-Boas has hailed Clint Dempsey after he turned in his finest display in a Spurs shirt against West Ham on Sunday.

"It was a master class from our chairman to sign him," Villas-Boas said. "I gave the green light to do it and Sunday was his first full individual 90-minute performance. That was important for him as he has been looking for it to happen for some time."

Dempsey will get a chance to build on his return to form when he lines up against the club he nearly joined last summer on Wednesday night, with Liverpool still lamenting their failure to sign the American forward from Fulham on transfer deadline day.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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