A 3-1 defeat seems harsh but is probably a reflection of the quality gap on show. Fulham outshot Spurs by a considerable margin but were only able to score via a freak goal from a corner, while conceding three to Spurs’ occasional raids. Fulham huffed, puffed and gave 110%, while Spurs took it all in and strolled off with the points, slightly dishevelled but not overly shaken.
Too critical? Maybe, probably: we did put together a pulsating second half. But just as the momentum grew we found ourselves driving uphill again, Duff and Murphy withdrawn for the ineffective Etuhu and ‘almost there’ Ruiz. The final few moments were a storm of Fulham pressure with Brad Friedel saving everything with everything, and of course we should have been given a late penalty for that handball/catch/grab, but it was all so frantic, so chaotic.
Still too critical? The thing is, you looked around the Spurs team and everywhere was a good player. Kyle Walker was the only player who perhaps is not an established name at this level, but he set up the first goal with a surge down the right that led to Bale slamming the ball in off Baird. Parker and Modric are, on paper, just about the perfect midfield double-act, and our midfield struggled to compete, even with Dempsey and Dembele making themselves available well. Van der Vaart and Bale were quiet, and Adebayor was functional at best, but in containing all this talent we struggled to impose ourselves on the game. There was no space, Spurs were largely able to hold position and pick us off; we needed to open the game up, increase the tempo.
This was achieved in the second half when, two goals down (Lennon had scored a sizzling goal from the left wing in which he weaved in out in out and then scored with a shot across Schwarzer), the team’s passing went up a gear or three, we started pinging it about a bit more. Dembele had an excellent half, driving in and around their defenders. Zamora played much better and seemed to relish the contest with Spurs’ strongmen combination King and Kaboul. He did what he’s best at, bringing our players into the game, taking theirs out of it.
But it wasn’t to be. We really did give it out all but couldn’t find that breakthrough, and Jermain Defoe scored an injury time third to tie it up. Maybe we deserved more but at the moment it just feels as if we got outsmarted by a better team.