Spurs V Crystal Palace at White Hart Lane : Match Preview

10 January 2014 09:08
Spurs V Crystal Palace - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Sherwood pledges to keep Lamela

Tim Sherwood insists Erik Lamela will not be following Jermain Defoe out of Tottenham.

Spurs confirmed on Friday that Defoe had been sold to Toronto FC in a deal understood to be worth in excess of B#8million.

Defoe, who has scored 142 goals for Tottenham over his two spells at the club, will move to Canada at the end of February just before the start of the Major League Soccer season.

Lamela has also been linked with a move away from White Hart Lane in recent weeks. A loan move to Atletico Madrid has been mooted for the club-record signing, who has started just three Barclays Premier League games for Tottenham, but Sherwood will not let the 21-year-old leave.

"He won't be leaving on loan in this transfer window. He has a big future here, absolutely," the Tottenham manager said of the Argentina international.

"We know what a talented player Erik is. We also understand that players need time to settle.

"He needs time to acclimatise to this country. He doesn't speak English and he isn't used to the pace of the games, especially over the Christmas period when they come thick and fast.

"He is not 100 per cent fit either. He's still feeling fatigued in one of his thighs so we were very cautious with him.

"We are going to take it nice and steady with him. I really want to put him on the stage when he's ready to perform, rather than let people judge him when he's half-cocked."

Given that this is a World Cup year, the move is something of a gamble for Defoe, who has signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with Toronto.

The Canadian club, who are managed by Defoe's former team-mate Ryan Nelsen, average gates of around 18,000 per home game.

They finished second bottom of the Eastern Conference last season and count 33-year-old former Newcastle defender Steven Caldwell and ex-Manchester United youth product Richard Eckersley among their ranks.

Defoe has rarely featured for England in recent months, but Sherwood is sure the 31-year-old can still make it into Roy Hodgson's 23-man party for Brazil.

"Jermain has been immense. He is one of the best strikers this league has ever seen," Sherwood added.

"His scoring record for club and country is second to none and long may that continue. I see him still having a future for England in the World Cup in the summer.

"I think he would (still get in the squad). That instinct of scoring goals is never going to leave Jermain Defoe. He needs to wait until his legs have gone and they're far from gone at the moment."

Defoe has recovered from a hamstring problem in time for Saturday's London derby against Crystal Palace and he will be available for the following eight games.

Ten first-team players were unavailable for the north London derby defeat to Arsenal in the FA Cup through injury, but Andros Townsend, Defoe and Sigurdsson are back for the Palace match. Lamela (thigh) is a doubt.

Palace manager Tony Pulis hopes to carry the confidence of an away victory in the FA Cup to Tottenham.

Pulis fielded a near full-strength side in last Saturday's 2-0 win at West Brom to secure a fourth win in nine matches in charge since succeeding Ian Holloway as boss.

The triumph was in contrast to relegation rivals West Ham, who lost 5-0 at Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup and 6-0 at Manchester City in the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg.

The Hammers' two highs of the season have come at White Hart Lane in the Premier League - they have won once in 13 league games since beating Spurs 3-0 on October 6 - and League Cup, and Palace will aim to emulate the success on Saturday.

Pulis refused to criticise managers who got their comeuppance after fielding weakened teams in the FA Cup, but knows the importance of momentum.

He said: "Winning is everything in sport, especially professional football. You win games and everything is different.

"We've got ourselves a little bit more organised. They (the players) know what I want from them week-in, week-out. That's been the difference."

The Eagles have been revived by Pulis and are two points ahead of West Ham entering this weekend's fixtures.

Three of Palace's wins in the last 10 games - including under caretaker Keith Millen at Hull on the day Pulis' appointment was confirmed - have come away from home.

"Watching the team win away from home gives you confidence," added Pulis, whose side also won at Aston Villa.

"Although you need to win your home games, we have the same amount of away games coming up.

"To be able to go into those games knowing you can win games away from home is important."

Pulis, though, knows defeating a Tottenham side left reeling by FA Cup elimination by North London rivals Arsenal will be a stern challenge for his side.

"If you're looking at it from outside, you'd expect Tottenham to win the game and rightly so," he added.

"How much money they've spent, the wages, the facilities and how established they've been in top-flight football for a long time.

"It's going to be a very difficult 90 minutes, but we go there with great hope.

"We'll work hard and we'll give it the best shot we can."

Pulis will assess a number of players with undisclosed minor knocks on Saturday, when striker Cameron Jerome could return up front.

Jerome missed last weekend's FA Cup win at West Brom with a knee injury.

Source: PA