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Defoe's heroics inspired by jibe

Striker Jermain Defoe revealed a half-time jibe from Les Ferdinand spurred him on to claim the hat-trick which sent Tottenham into the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Defoe missed a sackful of chances in the first half against Leeds last night, but made up for it by adding two goals after the break to his first-half opener as Spurs won the Elland Road replay.

Harry Redknapp's men, who face a trip to Bolton in the next round, could have been out of sight by the interval had Defoe taken his opportunities, a fact that was not lost on coach Ferdinand.

Defoe said: "Les did say to me at half-time, 'If you don't get a hat-trick today then you're gonna get it.'

"That spurred me on a bit. He realised watching the game there'd be chances, especially second half."

The chances duly came, and Defoe claimed his third hat-trick of the season to ensure there would not be a second heroic comeback from Leeds.


Luciano Becchio briefly gave the hosts hope, sending them in level at the interval with a stoppage-time equaliser. But Defoe's second-half fireworks ensured his dreams of a Wembley final remained intact, an achievement which would be all the sweeter for having missed out on two showpieces in the past two seasons.

He was cup-tied for Portsmouth's FA Cup final date back in 2008 and injured when Spurs reached the Carling Cup final last season.

"Everything happens for a reason," said Defoe. "Looking back now maybe I just wasn't meant to play in those games.

"Obviously when I came back here, I was so close and I got injured, broke my foot. And it was my first injury ever.

"I had an operation, was out for 10 weeks and wasn't meant to play in it.

"Hopefully this time I can get there.

"It would be special knowing I missed out last season.

"It's hard for me to take -- I was there supporting the lads, but when you miss out through injury it's difficult to take."

Redknapp was not at all surprised by Defoe's match-winning hat-trick. Redknapp, who tasted FA Cup glory with Portsmouth in 2008, said: "It was nice to see him get his hat-trick. He could have scored six tonight in fairness. He had some great opportunities.

"He took three great finishes and missed three that were maybe easier, but he was always in the right place, he was always a threat. He's a goalscorer."

Redknapp, told earlier in the day his own horse, Arry's Orse, had won at Lingfield Park, had tipped Defoe to become a top-class goalscorer when he first saw him play.

The former West Ham and Pompey manager added: "He's always scored goals. I signed him as a 15-year-old and every Saturday I used to watch him in the youth team and he used to get hat-tricks, or score every week anyway. He's done it since he was a little boy."

Leeds can now concentrate on the league after winning some new admirers with their performances against Manchester United and Spurs.

Midfielder Michael Doyle, whose side have lost top spot in League One to Norwich in the course of their cup run, believes they must now live up to the standards they have set.

"It's a good incentive for us now for the rest of the season to try and match those types of performances," he said.

"At the same time they're the type of players we want to be playing against week in, week out -- top-drawer players.

"It was a tough game for us but we gave a good account of ourselves.

"We ran them close twice, there hasn't been a lot between us. We gave them a good fight. They're a top side and showed their quality in the end."