Saturday 10 November 2012

Man City v Spurs: Platt fears threat of Tottenham hit-man Defoe

A preview of Sunday's early Barclays Premier League fixture

Tottenham Hotspur's Jermain Defoe has scored five Barclays Premier League goals

Manchester City assistant manager David Platt has identified Tottenham Hotspur's Jerman Defoe as the danger man as the two teams prepare to face each other in the Barclays Premier League on Sunday at the Etihad Stadium.

Defoe has scored five times in the Premier League this season and  scored a hat-trick in the UEFA Europa League tie against Maribor on Thursday.

"He is potent,” Platt said. “Defoe will always score goals. He could go six or seven games without scoring but you know if he does there is a glut coming because his stats tell you he scores goals.

"He has done all his career, ever since he was a young kid. I have had him in an [England] Under-21 team and training. He will get efforts on goal and he can finish.

"He is 5ft 3in - he'll have pop at me for that - but a cross comes in and he gets a header in the six-yard box. When a ball comes into the box he knows how to finish, he knows what to do.

"He has very early pictures in his mind about how he is going to score, no matter what angle it is. His first goal on Thursday was just an exceptional finish. He had the picture long before he got the ball."

"When a ball comes into the box he knows how to finish"
David Platt

In addition to Defoe, Platt is all too wary of the threat Spurs present as an efficient unit. "What Tottenham have got is over the years, with what Harry [Redknapp] has created and Andre Villas-Boas has added to and developed, a group of young, energetic players that can harm you, can score a goal in an instant,” he said.

"They've got several individuals who can turn a game in an instant and it becomes very difficult because of that. They change their team but they are dangerous.

“Gareth Bale is Gareth Bale - you know he is going to create chances, you know he is going to get the ball in a game, you know he is good one v one. He will get crosses over, he is direct, quick.

"[Aaron] Lennon on the other side is the same and the two full-backs will keep coming up. They will commit players forward when they have the ball, players who when in your final third can cause problems and score goals, no matter how well you defend.

"You look at them as a collective and you feel as though there are goals in their team."

Kyle Walker is convinced Tottenham are destined for UEFA Champions League qualification under Villas-Boas.

Last season Spurs and City played out one of the most entertaining games of the season, from which the hosts clinched three points when Mario Balotelli scored an injury-time penalty just moments after Defoe had come within inches of putting the away side 3-2 up.

The result did not stop Spurs from finishing in fourth but Chelsea's Champions League triumph thwarted their hopes of reaching the competition.

Walker has no doubts that under Villas-Boas Tottenham can return to Europe's elite once more.

"With the players we have and the players we brought in, I am more than confident [we can finish in the top four]," the England right-back said. "We just need to keep listening to the gaffer and his tactics.

"If we do that then we will get the results we need. It was disappointing how it went last year but that's just the way it goes."

"If I go out not knowing about my opponent then it's an even playing field"
Kyle Walker

Walker, like a number of other Tottenham players, approves of the information the Portuguese gathers on each of his opponents, and of Villas-Boas' management style in general.

"He has been very good, not just on the training field but off it too," Walker said at an event organised by the Topps Match Attax Tour. "We have been looking at different teams, how they play and their strengths and weaknesses.

"It has helped me. It's just as important as training. If I go out not knowing about my opponent then it's an even playing field, but if I know which foot he prefers and how he likes to play then I have that upper hand. It's more than helpful."

For more on the fixture, including the managers' press conferences, team news, predictions and previous meetings go to Matchday Live.

1.30pm Manchester City v Tottenham | #MCITOT | Matchday Live >>

Man City: Manager press conference | Provisional squad

Tottenham: Manager press conference | Provisional squad

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Key Points

  • Manchester City host Tottenham Hotspur in the Sunday early kick-off in the Barclays Premier League
  • City assistant manager David Platt is wary of the threat that Spurs present
  • Spurs defender Kyle Walker voices support for the methods of Andre Villas-Boas