Tottenham prove Ange Postecoglou right as Fulham blow away feeble display

Tottenham prove Ange Postecoglou right as Fulham blow away feeble display

Asked this week which particular areas Tottenham still need to improve in, Ange Postecoglou delivered an archetypal response: “Everything, mate.”

Here, then, were 90-something minutes to prove him right. Not only did his side not pick up the three points they needed to leapfrog Aston Villa into fourth… they produced one of their feeblest performances of Postecoglou’s reign, thrashed 3-0 by Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Both managers had kind words for each other this week, with Postecoglou noting that Marco Silva’s sides are always well drilled. But they were more than that. They were idling in total command throughout, ultimately winning thanks to Rodrigo Muniz’s double and Sasa Lukic’s first for the club.

Spurs were off the pace and lacking ideas, pressed hard by Fulham and unable to string passes together whenever they managed to nick it off their hosts.

It spoke volumes about which had been the more battling and balanced side here that the first three Spurs men hauled off were every member of Postecoglou’s midfield: Pape Matar Sarr, Yves Bissouma and the largely ineffectual James Maddison. Could a new midfield duo of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur inspire a comeback from three goals down? They could not.

Spurs are targeting the Champions League this season but are not demonstrating the level of consistency needed to finish in the top four — or it could be five — as things stand.

They were abandoned here by everything that had worked so well in their 4-0 dismantling of Aston Villa away from home last weekend. Fulham’s defence proved largely impenetrable, only really tested once the unorthodox and mercurial Timo Werner appeared from the bench with 24 minutes to go.

By that point, though, Spurs were handsomely beaten. Little could be done about Lukic’s strike for 2-0, but the opener by Muniz was only possible because January signing Radu Dragusin — on his full debut — did not cut out Antonee Robinson’s ball and left Muniz too much room with which to control and fire home.

And Guglielmo Vicario may have made some decent stops late on, but he parried Calvin Bassey’s strike straight into the path of Muniz to make it three. Offensively abject and defensively haphazard, Postecoglou’s players were masters of their own downfall.

Luton, West Ham and Nottingham Forest in their next three games offer ample opportunity to right the wrongs committed here, but it will take some time for the players and travelling supporters present to forget this evening in a hurry. Fulham ran them ragged.