Tottenham Hotspur-Fulham Preview
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Not only do Tottenham Hotspur need to move on from a frustrating defeat, but they must do so without star Harry Kane for some time.
With Kane out in the neighbourhood of two months because of an ankle injury, Spurs look to rebound Sunday against drop-zone dweller Fulham at Craven Cottage.
In the waning moments of last weekend's 1-0 loss to Manchester United, Kane suffered ligament damage to his left ankle. Word then came down this week that the England international, who has a team-high 20 goals over all competitions in 2018-19, will likely be out until March. That means he's expected to miss both legs of Tottenham's last-16 Champions League matchup with Borussia Dortmund and the second leg of the League Cup semifinal versus Chelsea.
"Injuries are part of the game," Kane posted on his Twitter account. "But no one will be working harder to get back fit."
It also does not help that teammate Heung-Min Son (12 overall goals) is away at the Asian Cup, leaving the club without their top two scorers. Son, though, believes Spurs (16-0-6), who enter this matchday third in the Premier League table, will be able to successfully move on - at least from the defeat.
"This is football," he told Tottenham's official website before leaving for the tournament. "We have to learn again and go again, harder and harder. Now, we have to show our character."
Rumours continue to run rampant about who Spurs might possibly acquire during the second-half of the January transfer window to add more punch up front in Kane's absence, and for the moment, Son's. It's possible, Fernando Llorente, who has four goals over all competitions, will be featured more than the 13 times he's seen action overall this season.
Perhaps more will be asked of midfielders Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen, at least from a more offensive standpoint?
Spurs' immediate focus, however, will be on Fulham (3-5-14), a club that enters the weekend in the middle of the Premier League's relegation zone, and is certainly beatable even minus Kane and Son. Tottenham beat the Whites 3-1 back in August at Wembley.
Lucas Moura, Kieran Trippier and Kane all scored in that contest for Spurs, who have won four in a row and 10 of the last 12 against Fulham over all competitions.
The Whites will try to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat over all competitions after falling 2-1 at Burnley last weekend. That came after they lost at home to lower-tier side Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup. It was even more frustrating considering both Burnley goals came via Fulham own goals within three minutes apart in the first half after the visitors opened the scoring on Andre Schurrle's goal in the second minute.
"We played well, we deserved minimum a draw," manager Claudio Ranieri told Fulham's official website. "But that's football. I'm satisfied with the performance, not the result.
"There are good moments and bad moments. For us, this is a bad moment, but we never give up. We continue to believe that in the end we will be safe."
Updated January 18, 2019