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By ESPN Staff

Defoe wants UCL qualification before surgery

Jermain Defoe wants to go under the knife having helped Tottenham reach the Champions League group stage for the first time.

Spurs must beat Young Boys.

• Surgery rules Defoe out for England
• Preview: Tottenham v Young Boys

Defoe will have groin surgery on Tuesday and is set to be out for between two and four weeks, missing England's European Championship qualifiers against Bulgaria and Switzerland and possibly Spurs' Premier League games against West Brom and Wolves.

The 27-year-old has been dogged by the problem since the World Cup and his playing time has become gradually more restricted since. Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp had hoped to schedule the striker's operation for last Thursday but the German surgeon the club want to perform the procedure was unavailable until next week.

The delay has allowed Defoe to play a part in what he has described as "one of the biggest games of my career'': Wednesday night's Champions League play-off round second leg against Young Boys.

"Everyone's looking forward to it,'' he said. "We worked so hard to get here and we want to make the most of it and win the game, and get through to the group stage.''

Should Spurs overturn a shock 3-2 first-leg deficit, their first group game will be on September 14 or 15, around the time Defoe is expected to be back from his operation.

"Everyone wants to play in the Champions League,'' he said. "On Tuesday nights, you don't want to be at home watching Eastenders. You want to be at the Lane at playing against the great players in the world and at the fantastic stadiums. For a lot of the boys, it's the first time playing in the Champions League and it's great, especially when you put the hard work in and you feel like you deserve to be there on that stage.''

Redknapp must decide whether or not to start with Defoe, who he admits is now only capable of playing for around 45 minutes. Redknapp admitted he may have got his tactics wrong against Young Boys in last week's first leg, which saw him field an adventurous 4-4-2 formation before making changes when 3-0 down.

"Over there, it might have been a bit of a mistake,'' he said. "Maybe we set up too attacking looking back on it.''

But the 63-year-old insists that is definitely the way to go on Wednesday, saying: "We've got to swarm all over them if we can from the start. I wouldn't sit here saying we've got to be patient. I think we've got to get after them.''

Young Boys defender Scott Sutter hopes Tottenham once again take his side lightly after claiming they did so in last Tuesday's first leg.

"I definitely think they did underestimate us - I think it's understandable,'' said boyhood Spurs fan Sutter, who described the prospect of playing at the stadium where he was once a season-ticket holder as "a special feeling''. "A lot of bigger teams we play underestimate us. I don't think the difference between a team like Tottenham, or a team in the top leagues, and a team in our league is that big any more, and that's proved time and time again."


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