Defoe Can Be Deadly

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Injured Fredi Kanoute has backed Jermain Defoe to shine in his absence after opening his account for the season at Stamford Bridge on Saturday - and Glenn Roeder agrees that the young striker is back with a bang.

Fredi, whose scan on Monday determined the extent of his groin damage, was delighted that Jermain helped the side to three points after coming on for him just minutes into the game.

"Jermain did the job he had to do, keeping the ball and playing well with Paolo - they both linked up very well," he says.

"I was very disappointed to miss the game because I was very motivated as people could see, and I really wanted to play.

"At the end I was happy for the lads, though, because we won the game."

The injury is a recurrence of the problem that dogged him for last season, forcing him to miss around half the season, and he says: "I just went to pick up the ball between two players and my left leg stayed back so I pulled a groin muscle. Now we'll just have to wait and see."

With or without him, Fredi says the side must build on the win at Chelsea, insisting: "We have done nothing yet and we can't be happy yet - it is only the beginning and we have to keep the same of frame of mind at the weekend."

And Glenn Roeder adds: "Fredi's injury was the one disappointing thing that happened to us - other than that it was a brilliant day.

"Even though he had been on the pitch for only a few minutes I could tell he was going to have a really good game because he started in such an aggressive manner.

"It was the frame of mind you want him to be in when he is about to play well, so it was a real body blow for us - and for him.

"It was an excellent day for us other than that - although we have waited a long time for it to come, longer than we should have had to.

"But there we are. We have to get on with what we are dealt sometimes, and it was very important to have won there on merit."

Now, Glenn will have to do without Fredi's physical presence - something he initially tried to prepare for before the transfer window closed - but he says: "That is a concern for us, but I have to say that when Defoe came on he really fizzed and sparkled.

"The few weeks he has had out of the team gave him a little time to think about things and work away from the spotlight.

"It certainly hasn't done him any harm. In the first few seconds when he closed down the young defender Robert Huth and blocked the ball he was straight into the game.

"He was a constant thorn in Chelsea's back four all afternoon, he was full of energy and when he got knocked over he bounced back up.

"He held the ball up well for us and linked well with Paolo, making little darting runs off the defenders, which is what we want him to do.

"If he continues to play like that in the next few weeks and score the goals we know he is capable of, linking well with Paolo and the midfield players, hopefully we will cope without that physical presence.

"We are really going to have to play good football now, really get the ball down on the ground and move it quickly and sharply to each other.

"We now haven't got the outlet of being able to throw a high one up to Fredi who can pull it out the air and we are going to have to play quick, incisive football."

Titi Camara will strengthen his place in the pecking order as a result of Fredi's absence, and Glenn adds: "Titi comes onto the bench now, he has been very patient and I am sure in the next few weeks he will get an opportunity.

"He is as fit as we can get him, and has not been this fit or motivated since he has been at the club.

"He is back playing for Guinea, he is out there next weekend, and I would like to think if he comes on to the field we will see a new Titi Camara if you want.

"He hasn't really had the chance to show what he can do at the club, having picked up an injury very early which kept him out for a long time.

"He lost a lot of sharpness and fitness and to an extent I think Titi is the first to admit he was finding motivation hard.

"But he came back and has worked extremely well on his fitness, which we can see the benefits of.

"Motivation is the key to playing well full stop, and he is showing us that in training and the reserves.

"He has had to be patient and if he gets a chance in the next few weeks he will have to take it."