Stumbling Spurs held by Fulham
Harry Kane headed Tottenham in front but Ivan Cavaleiro hit a deserved leveller in 1-1 draw
13 January, 2021 — By Dan Carrier at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
SPURS 1 (Kane 25)
FULHAM 1 (Cavaleiro 74)
SPURS stumbled against lowly Fulham this evening (Wednesday) in a disappointing 1-1 draw that laid bare some of the ongoing issues within this Jose Mourinho team.
Yet again, Tottenham got their noses in front and looked to have enough in their locker to win it – but failed to kill the game off in a first-half where they created a host of decent enough chances.
Fulham grew in confidence and grabbed a deserved second-half equaliser with Ivan Cavaleiro cancelling out Harry Kane’s 25th-minute opener at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Spurs boss Mourinho said after the match he felt his side should have bagged all three points. “It was not good enough, but still good enough to win,” he said.
“We have to play better and in a more consistent way. We created four or five big chances, and kept Fulham quiet, and were good enough to win the game, but not good enough because we do have to play better than we did.”
Fulham, lying 18th in the Premier League table, looked bright from the off. With Spurs yet again happy to concede ground and possession, the visitors were not shy to make the most of the spaces they were offered. It was to be an omen for what unravelled in the second period.
There was a sense that Tottenham were playing within themselves, and when they wanted to crank it up, they could – but when that extra yard was needed late on, they failed to deliver.
Fulham exerted plenty of effort, with their wing-backs finding space – but they lacked the quality to make a couple of early chances count.
Spurs seemed happy to wait for their turn, carving out two opportunities for Heung-Min Son, who saw a stabbed shot blocked by Fulham keeper Alphonse Areola and then sent a header goalwards that was also saved.
On 25 minutes Tottenham went ahead, and what a beautifully incisive move it was. A rasping cross-field ball by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg found Sergio Reguilon in space, and the young Spanish full-back put a perfect cross over for Kane, who placed a diving header into the bottom corner.
But being a goal to the good against a team locked in a relegation battle did not mean the shackles were coming off and that Spurs were going to push on and wrap up a commanding win.
Instead, Mourinho’s team seemed content – yet again, as we have seen so often this season – to sit deep and be reactive, rather than put on a show that would illustrate why they have been flagged up as possible title challengers.
And, as we have seen previously this term, their attempts to control the match did not fit in with Fulham’s game plan.
For awhile it looked like Spurs may get away with it. They even went close to putting the game to bed just after the hour mark, but an off colour Son tamely hit a shot against a post after being played in by Tanguy Ndombele. It was to be a big, game-changing miss.
On 74, Fulham, having enjoyed a good spell of pressure, equalised through Cavaleiro’s well-placed header – and Spurs simply did not have the wit needed to get back in front.
Mourinho said it was an issue that had stymied his side before. He added: “You cannot concede goals like we did. We did not kill the game when we had the chance and that has been a problem since the beginning of the season.”
Spurs: Lloris, Aurier, Sanchez, Dier, Reguilon, Winks (Lamela, 75), Hojbjerg, Sissoko, Ndombele (Vinicius 80), Son, Kane
Substitutes not used: Hart, Doherty, Alderweireld, Bale, Alli, Moura, Davies
Fulham: Areola, Aina, Andersen, Adarabioyo, Tete (Lookman, 67), Loftus-Cheek (Onomah, 90+1), Reed, Anguissa, Robinson, Cavaleiro (Kamara, 86), Reid
Substitutes not used: Hector, Rodak, Ream, Bryan, Kongolo, Kebano