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Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas rues lack of creativity as Spurs lose 1-0 to Fulham at White Hart Lane
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas was left to rue a game that “didn’t go our way” after his side was beaten 1-0 at home to Fulham this afternoon.
Former Spurs striker Dimitar Berbatov scored after 52 minutes at White Hart Lane to help his side claim all three points during a match in which the home side rarely threatened to score.
Substitute Jermain Defoe saw two close range efforts saved by Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, including one right at the death, but the visitors, now managed by ex-Tottenham boss Martin Jol, held firm.
The result means Tottenham remain on 54 points but drop to fourth in the Premier League after Chelsea beat West Ham 2-0.
And after going 12 consecutive league games unbeaten, Spurs have now lost their last two following last Sunday’s 3-2 defeat against Liverpool at Anfield.
Their recent poor run of form also saw them lose 4-1 against Inter Milan in the Europa League on Thursday evening.
Speaking after the defeat against Fulham, Villas-Boas said: “It was a game that didn’t go our way. We had a good start. Defensively for most of the game we were bright and aware but from the moment Fulham scored it made it more difficult for us.
“The difference today for us at home was we couldn’t create as much as we normally create. I think we paid a price because of that. We had a good chance in the beginning of the first half, some good chances with Defoe late on but not enough for what we normally create and that was the decisive factor during the game.”
Villas-Boas ruled out tiredness as a factor of today’s defeat after making five changes to the side that started in Italy.
And he praised Fulham’s organisation that meant Defoe, Emmanuel Adebayor and Gareth Bale weren’t given much space in which to create chances.
He said: “Fulham were good in their organisation and didn’t give us much space. As soon as they found the goal, it was more difficult for us and we couldn’t get behind them and couldn’t create enough and that was probably the difference.
“It was nothing to do with the players today, the effort and commitment was there. Probably the organisation wasn’t and that’s down to us to improve. After our last two Premier League defeats in a row we went on an amazing run and I hope it shifts somewhere. We just have to wait for a game that enables us to build on that confidence.”
Following the match, the Spurs manager revealed captain Michael Dawson came off at half-time with a slight hamstring problem but he will be assessed by the England medical staff when he joins up with Roy Hodgson’s squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.
He added, however, that Aaron Lennon, who was not in today’s squad, will miss the England match after suffering groin and hamstring injuries.
Spurs are now just four points ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal, who have a game in hand on their North London rivals.
And Villas-Boas said it was hard to “hide from the past” as Tottenham look to avoid repeating their collapse last season that led to Arsenal overtaking them in the hunt for a Champions League place.
“It’s been a difficult month for us,” the manager admitted. “Hopefully we can get out of this. The most important thing now is we have enough important games that can enable us to get out of that situation. This result didn’t go our way, Milan didn’t go our way, Liverpool didn’t go our way but there are still some positive things for us to try to change these results.
“We can’t escape the fact that at Liverpool we were good enough but today we weren’t so after the international break we have to get back to business against Swansea and Everton and try to collect six points to put us in a position where we can play Manchester City more confidently.”
Meanwhile, Jol said he was confident his former side would secure their place in next season’s Champions League with a top four league finish.
“Spurs will make it,” he said. “Over the last couple of year we’ve seen them grow better and better. Today was a bit different; [Benoit] Assou-Ekotto on the flank was a problem because he’s a left back. [They only need] one or two pieces in the puzzle and then they will be title contenders.”