Sunderland beat Everton 2-0 to move out of the relegation zone at the weekend.
Defoe may have stolen the headlines by scoring the last goal in Sunderland's 2-0 win over Everton, but the 32-year-old was keen to focus some attention on one of the unheralded members of the Black Cats' squad.
“Costel was unbelievable,” Defoe said. “Some of his saves were fantastic. You need your goalkeeper to be solid and he was brilliant.”
Pantilimon was called into action on numerous occasions as Sunderland claimed a smash and grab victory at Goodison Park.
The Wearsiders were on the back foot for much of the game, but they showed great resilience and desire to claim a crucial three points.
It was a win which lifts them out of the relegation zone and Sunderland will now be looking to protect their advantage over the bottom three for the rest of the season.
Pantilimon is likely to be key to their chances, too, as he has been such an important performer for them this season.
The lanky stopper has had a fine first season since joining from Manchester City and he will be hoping to cap it off in style, by keeping three more clean-sheets to help his side stay up.