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Tottenham 3-1 Fulham Prem 35 1314 Daily Telegraph

last updated Monday 21st April 2014, 9:24 PM
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Gerry Cox at Daily Telegraph

Tottenham (1) 3-1 (1) Fulham

While Sandro was missing out on a place in the Tottenham Hotspur squad and risking the wrath or Tim Sherwood, Fulham were missing chances and the opportunity to climb out of the relegation zone in a 3-1 defeat at White Hart Lane.

The fact that Fulham recorded a rare victory at Tottenham last season seemed to go over the head of Felix Magath, who admitted his side arrived with zero expectations.

"It would have been better if we'd got one or three points today but we were not expecting to win here at Tottenham," admitted the manager. "We are relying on our home games and both of those we have to win and that might be enough to stay in the league." It was a frank, if unambitious admission, but did not cause as much of a storm among Fulham's fans as Sandro's use of Twitter - and Sherwood's response - did among Tottenham Hotspur supporters.

The Brazilian midfielder made it clear before kick-off that he was fit but had been dropped from the squad, but Sherwood dismissed any fuss - and you have to say he was entitled to.

Spurs did not need Sandro as they brushed aside Fulham, with the exquisite midfield skills of Danish international Christian Eriksen supplemented by the superb goalkeeping of France's Hugo Lloris.

Eriksen was the provider for two of Tottenham's goals, as he has been so often in recent weeks, and when Fulham threatened to hit back, they found Lloris in defiant mood. The Frenchman made outstanding saves to deny Hugo Rodallega twice and then saved a penalty from Steve Sidwell, who had earlier equalised Paulinho's opener for Tottenham.

Goals from Harry Kane and Younès Kaboul early in the second half made sure Spurs won to stay sixth and in contention for the dubious honour of a Europa League place, and both Eriksen and Lloris were instrumental.

"No disrespect to Fulham, but we were in control," said Sherwood. "Eriksen is a fantastic advert for any young player. I have to drag him off the training pitch when it is getting dark, saying: 'Come on Christian, I want to go home now!'

"And Hugo is top drawer, a genuine world-class player."

The opening half-hour had the feel and atmosphere of a post-season friendly, which was understandable from Tottenham but not from Fulham, who are fighting for Premier League survival.

Tottenham's cautious opening might be attributed to the fact that they did not want a repeat of last week's start at West Bromwich Albion, where they were 2-0 down within five minutes.

Fulham's caution was due to the fact Spurs put five goals past Sunderland in their fixture at White Hart Lane, so Magath tried to ensure his team were tight at the back and quick to attack on the break.

Rodallega had a chance to draw first blood, beating Younès Kaboul to the ball but shooting horribly wide from 25 yards, with the ball eventually landing by the corner flag.

At the opposite end, Aaron Lennon volleyed high over the bar, but moments later another shot from the winger was tipped on to the post by Fulham's in-form goalkeeper David Stockdale.

Spurs finally broke through in the 35th minute. Fortunate to be awarded a free-kick for a foul on Lennon, they made Fulham pay for slack marking when Paulinho found himself unmarked at the far post to clip Eriksen's delivery over the line from close range.

But Fulham responded well, equalising within two minutes. Sidwell drove into the box, played a one-two off Spurs defender Zeki Fryers, and flicked the ball past Hugo Lloris from close range.

Tottenham regained the lead three minutes into the second half after more poor marking from Fulham. Lennon curled a cross in from the right and Harry Kane was able to get in front of Johnny Heitinga and glance a header into the far corner.

The twenty-year-old English forward has now scored three goals in as many games.

Fulham tried to equalise again but Rodallega's powerful header was superbly tipped over the bar by Lloris.

Spurs increased their lead in the 62nd minute. Eriksen was again the architect, driving in a free-kick from the left, and Fulham were again the architects of their own downfall, as Stockdale failed to reach the ball and Kaboul was unmarked at the far post to put it into the net with his knee.

The game looked safe for Spurs, but there was a late scare when Eriksen handled Rodallega's flick in the 75th minute. Sidwell stepped up to take the resulting penalty, but Lloris got his hand to the ball to make another marvellous save.

The result means Fulham are still in the relegation zone, two points behind Norwich with only three games remaining. "If we win those home games we have a chance," said Magath. The Cottagers must learn to defend much better than this if they are to survive.

Tottenham 4-4-2: Lloris; Naughton, Kaboul, Fryers, Rose; Lennon, Chadli, Paulinho, Eriksen; Kane, Adebayor.
Subs: Dembele for Chadli 67, Soldado for Kane 78, Townsend for Eriksen85

Fulham 4-5-1: Stockdale; Heitinga, Hangeland, Amorebieta, Riise; Kacaniklic, Parker, Sidwell, Kvist, Dejagah; Rodallega
Subs: Karagounis for Parker 55, Zverotic for Heitinga 65t

Ref: Lee Probert

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