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Winning mentality important - JD

Jermain Defoe said the lads were determined to return from South Africa as Vodacom Challenge winners.

Jermain Defoe said the lads were determined to return from South Africa as Vodacom Challenge winners.

The striker played his part in achieving that goal with his first strike in pre-season to secure a 3-0 victory over South Africa PSL champions Orlando Pirates in Saturday’s final at Ellis Park, Johannesburg.

Rafa van der Vaart took his tally to three goals in the tournament with a double in an entertaining final including a second direct free-kick in as many games.

“The manager said before the final that it was important to try and get the win,” revealed JD, who continued his pre-season preparations with a 75-minute run-out in our Spurs XI’s 5-3 win at MK Dons on Tuesday night.

“The most important thing is fitness and to come home injury-free, but it's also important to have that winning mentality before the start of the season.

“We've worked hard so far in pre-season. We've done a lot of running and speaking to the lads, everyone feels fit. We're all raring to go for the start of the season.”

JD was impressed with the South African experience. “Technically, both Kaizer Chiefs and Pirates were good and kept the ball well. They both made it difficult for us.

“It was an ideal test in pre-season, up against good, sharp players. That only helps your game.

“The atmosphere in the stadiums was fantastic. That noise!

“Even when we got to the hotels or the airports all the fans were there singing and dancing, it was brilliant. The fans are fantastic and so friendly. It was great.”