Rafa van der Vaart described Jermain Defoe’s first goal as 'something special' after the striker fired us into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on Wednesday night.
Jermain scored twice and Emmanuel Adebayor added a penalty as Stevenage were eventually overcome 3-1 in the fifth round replay at the Lane.
That set-up another home tie in the last eight we take on Bolton on Saturday week, March 17, for a place in the semi-finals at Wembley - ticket news here...
“He’s one of the best finishers here in England and he’s showed that over many years,” said Rafa. “We needed him, and the first goal was something special.”
Rafa was at close-quarters when Jermain missed a golden opportunity to bag a hat-trick late on – they ended up laughing on the turf together.
“We all know Jermain wants to score as many goals as possible, he wanted to score, I was behind him as well, but I was too tired to say anything,” he said. “We just ended up laughing.”
Rafa played the full 90 minutes on his return from injury. “As soon as we got the two injuries I knew it was going to be a longer night,” he said. “That’s good. I feel okay.”
We step back into Premier League action at Everton on Saturday and Rafa is confident we can bounce back from defeats against Arsenal and United.
“It’s always hard at Everton, they have a good team, so we have to be sharp,” said the Dutch international, who scored at Goodison last season.
“The second half was good against Stevenage, so we have confidence to go there. We can bounce back, of course. We need to.”