Jermain Defoe comments on Newcastle United v Sunderland battle

St James Park

The former England hitman comments on the forthcoming Tyne-Wear derby.

 

Jermain Defoe has told The Chronicle that a relaxed Sunderland can beat Newcastle United in next weekend's Tyne-Wear derby at St James's Park.

It has the potential to be one of the most important local meetings in recent memory as both sides scrap for their Premier League lives this season.

Sam Allardyce's side sit 17th in the table, one point ahead of 19th-placed Newcastle, who will have new manager Rafael Benitez in the home dugout for the first time after replacing sacked Steve McClaren on Friday.

The Black Cats have won each of the last six meetings between both sides, and Defoe believes that a calm approach is key to reaching seventh heaven on Tyneside next Sunday.

“It’s the game of the season and they’re desperate for results,” the former Spurs striker is quoted as saying by The Chronicle.

“They’re going to be flying. They’re at home and they’re going to come out and try and win the game. We’ve beaten them in the last six so maybe the pressure’s on them mentally.

“I think we need to go into the game relaxed and just approach it like any other game, don’t think about the derby too much and just approach it like every other game and try and win. If we can go there and win the game it will just be amazing for everybody at the football club – not just the players, everyone."

It is possible that the repercussions of that fixture could change dramatically between now and then.

The Magpies, who have a game in hand, visit Premier League leaders Leicester on Monday for Benitez's first match in charge.

Victory would see them leapfrog Sunderland by two points, leaving Allardyce and co in the bottom three ahead of that massive derby clash in nine days.

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