Jermain Defoe has revealed that a half-time chat with Martin Chivers inspired him to break the Tottenham great’s European goals record.
The 31-year-old’s 67th-minute penalty in the 2-1 UEFA Europa League victory over Sheriff on Thursday saw him score his 23rd goal in continental competition for the White Hart Lane club, surpassing Chivers’ benchmark.
And Defoe is under no illusions as to the magnitude of his achievement, having had the benefit of a pep-talk with the former striker at the interval.
“He (Chivers) is a legend,” said the England forward. “I saw him at half-time. He said to me, ‘Keep it going you’ll get it’, it is so nice for someone like Martin to say that.”
Defoe admits, though, that he had to be patient against a disciplined Moldovan defence.
“It was frustrating, I couldn’t really get much space,” he continued. “I just thought to myself ‘Stay patient’ – to go to the top of the (scoring) list I’m delighted. I was confident, what an opportunity to do it.”
Manager Andre Villas-Boas was among the first to congratulate the striker on his landmark.
“We are all particularly happy for him,” said the Tottenham boss. “It is a great honour and will stay in time like Martin’s and will be very difficult to break.
“I hope it means this club will continue in this competition into the later stages to make it even more prestigious for him.
“We were expectant and glad that it happened. We were trying to put him through on goal, Erik (Lamela) did very well to create the chance through the penalty and he slotted it home.”
Tottenham’s victory means that they have now qualified for the knockout stages of the competition with two matches to spare.