The MLS-bound striker came off the bench to score in Spurs' win and his current boss was keen to praise the finishing ability on show, despite the side's abject first-half display.
Spurs announced on Friday that Defoe will move to MLS side Toronto DC at the end of February after agreeing an eight million pound transfer.
The England international showed Tottenham what it will be missing when he departs by firing home in the 72nd minute after Christian Eriksen had put the hosts ahead early in the first half.
“I know Jermain will score wherever he plays, in any league in the world,” said Sherwood. “He’s a goalscorer. He loves scoring goals and if he doesn’t score he gets the hump.
“He warmed up like an Olympic athlete today. I saw the appetite he was showing to come on, and when he came on he showed his worth.”
Despite Defoe’s impact, Sherwood repeated his suggestion that the club will not look to replace the striker by signing a player in the January transfer window.
“Jermain is different because I know him and he knows the league,” he added. I’m not saying we won’t bring someone else in, but we’re not looking to.
“The last thing you want to do is bring in someone who doesn’t know the league. By the time they settle, the bell has gone.”
Crystal Palace winger Jason Puncheon missed the target with a first-half penalty and Sherwood admitted he tore in to the Spurs players after their poor display in the opening 45 minutes.
“The halftime team talk wasn’t pretty. I always tell footballers that I will take desire over ability all day long. Unless they show desire and appetite to win football matches, the ability will never shine through.
“But credit to them. I’ve played in a lot of football matches and it’s easy when your team plays brilliantly for 90 minutes. It’s about having character when it’s not going your own way.
“Can you roll up you sleeves when your at home and the fans are expecting you to do well? They did that and I’m proud of the second half because the quality really did shine through.”
The day’s results leave Crystal Palace bottom of the Premier League table, but manager Tony Pulis was encouraged by the performance.
Pulis said: “We deserved to be winning the game at halftime. We dominated the game at times today.
"At times we dominated the game and have not taken any points.
"We played some good football today. I don't think at times you get the credit (you deserve). The lads played some really good football through the pitch – not backwards, square and sidewards but through the pitch.
"Exciting football, when you get from one end of the pitch to the other quickly. I think we got something like 22 crosses in; it was good stuff."
Referring to Puncheon's first-half penalty miss, Pulis claimed his winger was undone by a costly split-second of indecision.
"He took a penalty the other week at home and scored," said the former Stoke boss. "I think, looking at it, he’s changed his mind at the last minute and you can't do that when you're taking penalties.