Tottenham Hotspur striker Jermain Defoe is delighted his team have returned from their pre-season tour victorious and injury-free, and has said that Spurs have the ‘winning mentality" needed for next season when they will be looking to make another assault on a Champions League place.
The north London club won the Vodacom Challenge trophy in South Africa, and the 28-year-old striker found the back of the net for the first time this summer in a 3-0 victory against the Orlando Pirates in Saturday's final.
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has been instilling the need for ambition and continuity at the club, as he attempts to hold on to players such as Luka Modric, and the England international has taken on board the words of his boss.
"The manager said before the final that it was important to try and get the win," he said. "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."
Spurs will miss out on Champions League football this year after finishing in fifth last season, and were defeated by South African team Kaizer Chiefs in their first game of the pre-season tour.
But Defoe, who has been linked with Newcastle this week, took heart from the challenging campaign, and pointed out the benefits from this tough preparation. "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.
He was also delighted to have travelled to Africa, where the fervor surrounding Barclays Premier League football reaches a vuvuzela-fuelled fever pitch. "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."
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