Andre Villas-Boas not concerned by Spurs slump

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas is confident his side can hold on to a top-four position in the Premier League for the rest of the season despite suffering a third successive defeat.

A goal early in the second half from Dimitar Berbatov was enough to earn Fulham a rare away win on Sunday, as Spurs slipped one place to fourth.

The 1-0 defeat added to reverses at Liverpool in the Premier League and Inter Milan in the Europa League, although Spurs still managed to progress in the latter competition on away goals.

Spurs would have moved to within two points of second-place Manchester City had they won, but they have now been over-taken by Chelsea, who won 2-0 at home to West Ham United.

Tottenham are also just four points ahead of Arsenal, who have a game in hand. A 2-1 derby success on March 3 had given Villas-Boas’ side a 10-point advantage over their north London rivals.

Arsenal managed to over-take Tottenham from a similar position last season, when Harry Redknapp was in charge at White Hart Lane, but Villas-Boas believes he can prevent history from repeating itself.

“You can’t hide from what has happened in the past at Spurs,” he said.

“But you do have an opportunity to fight it. Whatever is written about the past is fine, we just have to make sure we fight against it.

“It has been a difficult month for us but if we can find our form, our confidence and our wins, then we will be able to invert that cycle that happens normally with Spurs.

“I’m confident. We will just have to work hard. The most important thing is that we have enough important games to enable us to get out of that situation.

“This result didn’t go our way, in Milan it didn’t go our way and at Liverpool it didn’t go our way, but there were still some positives for us to try to change the results that we have been getting.

“After the international break we have got to get back to business and do our job against Swansea and Everton and try to collect six points.”

The fact that Berbatov was the scorer only increased the disappointment felt by Tottenham supporters, as the Bulgaria forward was a great favourite at White Hart Lane until he was sold to Manchester United in 2008.

Fulham manager Martin Jol was the man who brought him to England, although the Dutchman had been sacked by the time Berbatov departed.

Jol also backed Tottenham to qualify for the Champions League next season.

“Spurs are in a normal situation,” he said. “They will finish at least in the top four.

“In the last couple of seasons, you have seen them grow, with better, better players. They only need one or two more pieces in the puzzle and they will be title contenders, 100 percent.”

Jol was reunited with Berbatov at the start of the season when the striker left United and Fulham have yet to lose a game in which he has found the net.

The game was also of interest to England manager Roy Hodgson who saw defender Michael Dawson limp off at half-time with a hamstring injury which will rule him out of the World Cup qualifiers with San Marino and Montenegro.

Winger Aaron Lennon, who did not play on Sunday, will definitely miss out because of a groin problem.

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