Premier League

Spurs will be back - Defoe

TEAMtalk Media Group, TEAMtalk Media Group
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23/01/2012 15:34 +0100

Spurs' Premier League title hopes were dealt a hefty blow yesterday as they were beaten 3-2 in stoppage time by leaders Manchester City in an eventful clash at the Etihad Stadium.

Mario Balotelli, who had earlier escaped punishment after catching Scott Parker's head with his boot, controversially netted the winning penalty moments after Defoe had gone close to snatching the game himself.

The result left third-placed Spurs trailing City by eight points in the table with Manchester United between the clubs.

Defoe said: "We were so unlucky. The lads are devastated.

"We really thought we were going to win the game when it was 2-2.

"It was just unfortunate. We just needed that bit of luck and it wasn't there.

"But we will keep going. We have got some big games coming up - games that we can get points from, games I think we can win. We'll be fine."

A previously cagey contest came to life when former Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri fired City ahead in the 56th minute.

Three more goals followed in a pulsating nine-minute period as Joleon Lescott added a second for City, Defoe pounced on a Stefan Savic mistake to reply and Gareth Bale curled in a superb equaliser.

Defoe was agonisingly close to settling the contest as he slid to reach a Bale cross at the back post in the dying moments but was unable to guide it in.

The 29-year-old said on Spurs TV Online: "Gaz's one at the end, it was difficult for him.

"He went past the player and had to play it in front instead of across, so I could pass it in.

"He had to play it in front and maybe just hit it a little too hard. I couldn't really reach it.

"As soon as I made the run I thought it was a goal.

"I had to stretch my leg and hook it around the post but I couldn't really reach it.

"Even then I thought we'd still get the point, the lads had done brilliantly.

"But they got a last-minute penalty and it was all over."

England international Defoe started in the absence of on-loan Emmanuel Adebayor, who was unable to play against his parent club.

He took the goal he scored well - his 12th of the season in all competitions - as he seized on Savic's poor back header and rounded Joe Hart.

That ensured the game stayed alive just as it seemed City had taken a firm grip.

Defoe said: "You have still got to be positive and think if you get a goal back then you have got a chance. It is football, anything can happen.

"I thought we played well and in the second half I thought we were the better side. We created a lot of chances.

"We were 2-0 down and to come back was great, but I would definitely say we didn't deserve to lose the game."

Spurs have seen their title challenge dwindle over the past week with the result at City coming after a frustrating draw with Wolves.

Yet Defoe still believes the Londoners have plenty to play for.

He said: "There are not many teams that can come here and get points or perform like we did.

"It was a tough game but we really performed, so there are a lot of positives we can take."

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