Tottenham Hotspur 0 - 1 Fulham

Match info: Premier League at White Hart Lane

Date: 17/03/2013 KO: 15:00 Ref: M Jones Att: 36,004

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Dimitar Berbatov 52

FT (ht: 0-0)

  • Last Updated: March 17 2013, 19:12 GMT

Martin Jol hailed Dimitar Berbatov as the Fulham striker lived up to his promise to shoot down his former club Tottenham today.

Jol lauds Berbatov impact

Tottenham's hopes of Champions League qualification took a big blow as they lost 1-0 to the Cottagers thanks to Berbatov's second-half poke past Hugo Lloris.

The 52nd-minute strike was not one of the finest of his career, but it did not matter for Berbatov or Jol, who tasted victory over the club he used to manage for the first time since leaving White Hart Lane in acrimony six years ago.

Berbatov has now racked up 10 goals for Jol this season, and he was so confident that he would secure a shock victory for the west London club that he told his manager he would do before the match.

Jol said: "Before the game you hope for a point... but Berbatov came to me and promised me... He said: 'you have to trust me'.

"I thought he was joking. But he said it before the match against Stoke (where he scored the winner) and he is a wonderful player.

"It was one of the best wins ever."

In truth Berbatov's performance was hardly in keeping with the high standards he has set himself throughout his career.

The Bulgarian's passing was woeful at times and he spent much of the match with his hands on his hips or throwing them in the air in frustration at his team-mates.

Jol admits Berbatov is a unique character who needs to be carefully managed, but the Dutchman maintains that the 32-year-old is still one of the best hitmen in the league.

"He's a remarkable boy," the 57-year-old said.

"He's a different personality, but he's said it twice now. Against Stoke before the match and he said it again today.

"The only thing he wants is a day off if he scores. I promised him a day off and he scores!

"He looks like he's sulking and sometimes his body language is not great, but you know that he can be a winner, and he can decide games for you."

Jol enjoyed three successful seasons in charge of Spurs before he was ruthlessly axed.

Despite the victory, Jol said he took no personal satisfaction from getting one over his former employers.

"No, it's only about the three points," the Dutchman added.

"It's nice that it was here only because White Hart Lane is such a difficult place to go to."

Spurs were poor throughout today's encounter. Even the simplest of passes went astray while Emmanuel Adebayor, Jermain Defoe, and even the returning Gareth Bale were unable to test Mark Schwarzer until the dying stages.

Boss Andre Villas-Boas has now lost three games on the bounce for the first time since he took over. Tonight he accepted responsibility for the defeat, stating that the 120-minute drain of Thursday's defeat at Inter Milan had nothing do to with the loss.

"It was nothing to do with the players today," he said.

"The effort and commitment were there. Probably the organisation wasn't, and it is down to us to get to business and correct that."

Given that Tottenham now sit just four points ahead of Arsenal, who have one match in hand, Villas-Boas accepts comparisons will be drawn between his side's current dip in form and the one that took place under Harry Redknapp last season.

"You can't hide from what has happened in the past with Spurs," Villas-Boas said.

"You just have to make sure that we are able to fight against it. It has been difficult month for us.

"If we are able to find our form or confidence and win then we can end that cycle that Spurs normally have. We just have to work hard."

Villas-Boas confirmed that Aaron Lennon, who missed today's game with hamstring and groin injuries, will not join up with England for their World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.

The Portuguese said it was also unlikely that Michael Dawson, who had to be withdrawn at half-time due to a hamstring complaint, would feature for the Three Lions.

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