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Tottenham 3-1 Fulham Prem 35 1314 Daily Mail

last updated Monday 21st April 2014, 9:11 PM
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Laura Williamson at Daily Mail

Tottenham (1) 3-1 (1) Fulham

It seems Christian Eriksen did not take too kindly to his manager, Tim Sherwood, saying he was only on his way to becoming one of Tottenham's stand-out players. The rest of them, after all, are 'much of a muchness', according to the Spurs boss.

Eriksen's response on Saturday was emphatic. The 22-year-old followed his manager's instructions to cut in from the left wing more in the second half and provided the free kicks for two of Tottenham's goals, with Paulinho and then Younes Kaboul the grateful recipients.

Harry Kane then scored Spurs' second after Steve Sidwell had equalised for Fulham and Hugo Lloris prompted his manager to label him a 'genuinely world-class player' after a fine individual performance culminated in the Frenchman saving a 77th-minute Sidwell penalty.

The fight now will be to hold on to Lloris this summer, with Sherwood adamant 'no-one wants him to leave'. It will not, however, be the present Spurs' boss decision to make.

The signs of discord continued to bubble away at Tottenham. First midfielder Sandro told his 100,000 Twitter followers that he was not injured but dropped and then Danny Rose snapped at goalkeeping coach Tony Parks after neglecting his defensive responsibilities. This is becoming all-too familiar territory for Sherwood, who quipped he was shocked to see only three men linked with his job on Saturday morning.

'Sandro's not telling lies,' was the manager's blunt response, 'but I don't think he's good enough to be in the side at the moment. He's not selected because he's not up to it.

'And as for Rose, I'm all for that. It's just because we want to win the game. They're shaking hands in there and it's not a problem.'

Problems abound, though, for Fulham, still rooted in the bottom three. They began brightly on Saturday, with Hugo Rodallega proving a handful and goalkeeper David Stockdale pushing an Aaron Lennon shot quite brilliantly onto the post after 26 minutes. Spurs' opening goal, after 35 minutes, came against the run of play given the end-of-season malaise wafting around a subdued White Hart Lane. Paulinho was allowed to ghost in, unmarked, at the back post to convert an Eriksen free kick, and yet Fulham were behind for just 1min 54secs.

Referee Lee Probert wisely played advantage, allowing Sidwell to attempt a pass to Alex Kacaniklic, only to receive the ball back off Zeki Fryers instead. The Fulham midfielder showed excellent balance and determination to chip Lloris with a right-foot finish.

But once the English engine room of Sidwell and Scott Parker had run out of steam as Parker was forced off the field with a right thigh injury, so too did Fulham's attempt to salvage a point. Tottenham moved the ball more quickly, too, allowing 20-year-old Kane scored his third goal in three games after 48 minutes. Kane bustled his way in front of John Heitinga to head in a Lennon cross.

A Rodallega header promoted an excellent save from Lloris, but indiscipline cost Fulham again when Heitinga fouled Rose to gift Eriksen another free kick. This time it was Kaboul allowed a free pass into the six-yard box to put Spurs in cruise control.

Fulham could have had a penalty when Rose pulled down Kacaniklic after 66 minutes, while Sidwell failed to convert from the spot after an Eriksen handball, but it was easy to understand Fulham supporters' ire.

Late injuries to Kieran Richardson and Mahamadou Diarra and Sascha Riether's throat infection disrupted Felix Magath's plans, but you want to see desire and drive from your team at the very least, not highly-paid passengers apparently largely content to sleepwalk their way into the second tier.

The statistics do not lie, after all. Fulham have the worst goal difference in the league and have conceded far more goals than any other club.

The way Paulinho and then Kaboul were allowed to sneak round the back to score from Eriksen set pieces was unforgivable, while the visitors paid a heavy price for failing to close down Lennon in the build-up to Spurs' second.

Fulham's three remaining games, at home against Hull City and Crystal Palace either side of a trip to Stoke City, will now decide their fate.

Magath said: 'Sure we can still stay up. It would be better if we got one or three points today but we are not expecting to win here at Tottenham so we are relying on our home games. Both of those we have to win and that might be enough to stay in the league.'

Tottenham (4-4-2): Lloris 7.5; Naughton 6, Kaboul 7, Fryers 6, Rose 6; Lennon 7, Chadli 6 (Dembele 67, 5.5), Paulinho 6, Eriksen 8 (Townsend 85); Adebayor 6.5, Kane 7 (Soldado 79).
Subs not used: Friedel, Chiriches, Bentaleb, Sigurdsson.

Goals: Paulinho 35, Kane 48, Kaboul 62.

Fulham (4-3-3): Stockdale 5; Heitinga 5 (Zverotic 66 5), Amorebieta 5, Hangeland 4.5, Riise 5; Kvist 5, Sidwell 5, Parker 6 (Karagounis 56 5); Dejagah 5, Rodallega 6, Kacaniklic 5.
Subs not used: Stekelenburg, Kasami, Roberts, Woodrow, Bent.

Booked: Heitinga 61

Pen saved: Sidwell 77

Goals: Sidwell 37.

Ref: Lee Probert

Att: 35,841

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