JERMAIN Defoe is capable of reaching double figures before the end of the season, believes Sunderland boss Gus Poyet.
Defoe netted his second goal in the space of eight days in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Swansea after the January signing produced a magnificent individual effort just before half-time.
Since arriving in a swap deal for Sunderland flop Jozy Altidore, Defoe has immediately injected much-needed quality into the Black Cats attack, with Poyet’s side taking four points from their last two Premier League outings, along with progressing in the FA Cup.
And Poyet, who admits he cannot consider dropping Defoe despite a hectic spell of five games inside a fortnight, has backed the 32-year-old to remain among the goals.
Poyet said: “If he gets 10, I think it would be incredible.
“That would mean we finish the season in a very nice place.
“That was the aim and he can do that, because he scored on Saturday.”
Poyet believes the capture of Defoe has given his Sunderland team-mates a psychological boost, who now know there is a natural finisher in their midst capable of putting points on the board.
Saturday’s goal was a prime example, with Sunderland scoring from their only shot on target.
“Now the team knows that if we play a certain way, control the game and get near the box, Jermain will do the rest,” said Poyet.
“It’s instincts. It’s natural. You don’t need to coach that.
“The way he moves and waits makes him finish like this.
“I said it when I was playing with him and when I coached him at Spurs.
“He’s one of those players that doesn’t want to hurt the ball, as we say in Spanish. He knows how to hit the ball and how to finish.
“It makes the rest very confident and that’s important.”
Poyet added: “There are key positions on the pitch.
“People talk about the whole spine.
“In certain aspects of the game, the full-backs are important too.
“But the ones who save the ball and score the goals are the most important ones.
“I said a few weeks ago that I wasn’t enjoying things.
“Burnley was a tricky game, but I enjoyed the Fulham game a lot and I enjoyed watching the first half on Saturday.
“Let’s hope we can take this into Tuesday against QPR.”