Solid Spurs bounce back

Premier League
Fulham 0
Tottenham Hotspur 1

Spurs bounced back from two consecutive defeats to overcome their west London neighbours.

And a solitary goal in fist half stoppage time from Harry Kane saw the England captain draw level with Jimmy Greaves’ record of 266 goals that has stood for 53 years.

Having lost six of last 10 Premier League matches, maximum points were vital to keep in touch with the top four, particularly given Manchester United’s defeat at Arsenal yesterday.

But, being Spurs, they did it the hard way against a tenacious Fulham side that would have overtaken them in the table with a victory.

Fulham looked the more likely to draw first blood as Spurs, typically this season, were toothless for much of the first half.

Bobby De Cordova-Reid tested the visitors’ goalkeeper Hugo Lloris from distance as early as the ninth minute, but the Frenchman got down easily to the effort.

The Spurs skipper was in action again ten minutes later, saving at close range from Harrison Reed,

A glancing header from Aleksandar Mitrovic, sailed just wide and a fierce drive from Willian was parried by Lloris.

Spurs’ only sniff at goal came after a great run by Dejan Kulusevski who found Emerson Royal, but the Brazilian defender’s shot was beaten away by Bernd Leno at his near post.

But, inside first half stoppage time, Kane stunned the home fans, swivelling on a ball from Heung-min Son and burying it low past Leno’s inside left post to equal Greaves’ record.

Kane might have gone one better to become Spurs’ all-time top scorer when Ben Davies headed across the six-yard box to the striker whose own header was tipped over well by Leno.

Unlike Spurs’ recent collapses, they managed their lead well during the second period and gave Fulham little opportunity to spoil their day.

“We are a little bit behind where we want to be but tonight was important," said Kane, who played despite having what his manager Antonio Conte described as “a fever”.

"We had a good talk amongst ourselves, just to get back to what we are good at, clean sheets, being compact and hard to break down.

“Then we know we will have a chance to score and have players who can do that.

"It was a really important win for us, especially after the last couple of games, to get back to winning ways."

Conte said: "I had a good answer from my players. I asked them for the solidity of last season and the will and desire to fight and to be resilient.

"We showed when you play as a team it is difficult to play against us. Today has to be a starting point for us to give everything then we will see what happens at the end."

Fulham manager Marco Silva said: “The game was decided by a good footballer. We were punished by a great finish for him and that’s what happens when you lose control.

‘Our first 40 minutes was very good, I have to say. A very good level, high intensity, a lot of energy from ourselves, a good dynamic as well.

“We were clearly the best team for 40-42 minutes, the most dominant team, the team that created the most dangerous moments around their box.

“I think we had two very good chances – one with Harrison Reed, another with João [Palhinha] from a free-kick.

 But even without many, many chances, I think we were clearly the best team on the pitch until the last five minutes [of the first half].

“I think we lost a little bit of control of the game, without reason to be honest, in the last five minutes of the half.

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