x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Double injury blow for Spurs as old boy Berbatov returns to haunt them

Round-up: Dimitar Berbatov condems former club Tottenham to a third straight defeat, while Norwich captain Russell Martin lauds valuable point at Sunderland.

Fulham's Dimitar Berbatov celebrates his goal against Tottenham Hotspur.
Fulham's Dimitar Berbatov celebrates his goal against Tottenham Hotspur.

Aaron Lennon will miss England's World Cup qualifying games against San Marino and Montenegro through injury and Michael Dawson also looks unlikely to play, the Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas said after his side's 1-0 loss to Fulham yesterday.

Lennon was omitted from the Spurs squad that lost to their London rivals after he suffered hamstring and groin injuries during Thursday night's Europa League last-16 second-leg defeat to Inter Milan.

Dawson, the centre-back, had to come off at half time yesterday and was not expected to join the national team ahead of Friday's game against San Marino, which comes four days before their trip to Montenegro.

"Lennon won't be able to make it," Villas-Boas said. "He has been struggling a lot with injuries. We risked him the other day against Inter Milan and he is on the brink of rupturing his muscle so we have decided to take him out of this game. He has groin and hamstring [injuries]."

Villas-Boas said Dawson has only a remote chance of joining up with the squad.

"He felt his [hamstring] muscle going in the first half," Villas-Boas said. "If we had brought him on in the second half we would be risking him a major injury.

A goal from the former Tottenham striker Dimitar Berbatov saw Spurs sink to a third straight defeat, allowing Chelsea, who beat West Ham United 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, to climb over them into third place.

Victory would have moved Spurs to within two points of second-place Manchester City, but they were unable to find a way past Fulham's excellent goalkeeper, Mark Schwarzer, who twice denied the second-half substitute Jermain Defoe.

The defender Russell Martin believes Norwich City’s point from their 1-1 draw with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light could be one of the biggest of their season.

Norwich were one up thanks to Wes Hoolahan’s header before the goalkeeper Mark Bunn was dismissed for handling outside his area.

Five minutes before half time Sebastien Bassong conceded a penalty, which was converted by Craig Gardner. It all seemed to be going against the Canaries and although on his first viewing Martin disagreed with the decisions, he preferred to focus on the positives.

“To say that we could get a point before the game we would have taken it, but in the circumstances we got it, to play 60 odd minutes with 10 men it’s a massive, massive point, because they could have caught up with us,” he told Sky Sports 1. “In the grand scheme of things for us it could be one of biggest points we got yet.”