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Tottenham Hotspur vs Fulham. Premier League.

Tottenham Hotspur StadiumAttendance61,641.

Tottenham Hotspur 2

  • P Højbjerg (40th minute)
  • H Kane (75th minute)

Fulham 1

  • A Mitrovic (83rd minute)

Tottenham 2-1 Fulham: Harry Kane and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg on target but Spurs made to sweat for victory

Match report and free highlights as Tottenham beat Fulham 2-1; Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Harry Kane scored as Spurs dominated; Aleksandar Mitrovic pulled one back for Fulham with his sixth goal of the campaign in the closing stages

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Tottenham’s win against Fulham

Tottenham survived a nervy finale to beat Fulham 2-1 and continue their unbeaten start to the Premier League season.

Harry Kane's close-range goal from Ryan Sessegnon's cross (75) appeared to have made the game safe for the dominant hosts following Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's first-half opener (40) at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

But Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic set up a tense climax when he controlled a long pass from Kenny Tete and curled a sumptuous finish past Hugo Lloris (83) for his sixth goal of the season.

The Serb had barely threatened until then but Spurs were almost punished for missing a succession of earlier chances when his deflected strike in the penultimate minute of normal time forced an outstanding save from Lloris.

Spurs thought they had finally wrapped up the win when Richarlison put the ball in the net from close range moments later, but VAR ruled him offside in the build-up, meaning the hosts were made to sweat for a little longer for a victory which moved them level on points with second-placed Manchester City.

Player ratings

Tottenham: Lloris (7), Romero (7), Dier (7), Lenglet (7), Emerson Royal (7), Bentancur (7), Hojbjerg (8), Sessegnon (8), Richarlison (8), Son (7), Kane (8).

Subs: Kulusevski (6), Perisic (6).

Fulham: Leno (8), Tete (7), Adarabioyo (7), Ream (7), Robinson (6), Palhinha (6), Reed (6), Pereira (6), De Cordova-Reid (6), Kebano (6), Mitrovic (8).

Subs: Mbabu (6), James (6), Cairney (6), Willian (6), Vinicius (6).

Man of the match: Richarlison

How Spurs won despite late scare

Tottenham enjoyed near-total dominance from the outset, creating a glut of early chances and seeing the first of two goals ruled out when Heung-Min Son's diagonal cross flew into the net with Kane in an offside position as he attempted to flick it on.

Tottenham's Harry Kane celebrates with team-mates after scoring his side's second goal
Image: Tottenham's Harry Kane celebrates with team-mates after scoring his side's second goal

Richarlison, a menace throughout on his first Spurs start, then created another opportunity for Son after nutmegging Tosin Adarabioyo and cutting the ball back for him, but the South Korean's effort took a deflection and flew over the bar.

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Team news

  • Antonio Conte made five changes from Tottenham's draw with West Ham as Cristian Romero and Rodrigo Bentancur returned from injury and Richarlison and Clement Lenglet made their first starts.
  • Marco Silva named an unchanged side from Fulham's 2-1 win over Brighton, with Deadline Day signings Dan James, Carlos Vinicius and Willian named on the bench.

Fulham then needed a last-ditch tackle from Adarabioyo on Kane to avoid falling behind following more good work from Richarlison, with Son then striking the underside of the bar from Kane's deft ball over the top, but the breakthrough came soon after that.

Hojbjerg exchanged passes with Richarlison as he entered the Fulham box and, despite being surrounded by defenders, the Dane managed to stroke a low finish past Bernd Leno for his second goal of the campaign.

Fulham's Joao Palhinha challenges Tottenham's Ryan Sessegnon
Image: Fulham's Joao Palhinha challenges Tottenham's Ryan Sessegnon

Spurs picked up where they left off in the second half but continued to spurn chances, with Eric Dier missing perhaps their best opportunity when he fired over from Richarlison's cross when unmarked.

Ryan Sessegnon was then denied by Leno as the hosts continued to carve Fulham open but the Spurs wing-back was the architect of the second goal when it finally arrived, his low cross steered home by Kane for his 188th Premier League goal, putting him clear of Andrew Cole in third place in the all-time scoring charts.

Richarlison struck the inside of the post as Spurs pushed for a third but Mitrovic's brilliant strike came moments later and Spurs were indebted to Lloris for keeping him from scoring a second when he acrobatically tipped his effort over the bar.

Richarlison was denied a goal his performance merited by a VAR check in stoppage time but it mattered little in the end. Fulham could not muster any more chances and the home fans were soon celebrating a fourth win from six games.

FPL stats: Tottenham vs Fulham

Goals Hojbjerg, Kane, Mitrovic
Assists Richarlison, Sessegnon, Tete
Bonus points Kane (3pts), Hojbjerg (2pts), Richarlison (1pt)

Conte: I liked performance but patience needed

Spurs boss Antonio Conte:

"For sure, I liked the performance. If I have to find a situation that we need to improve, it is to be clinical because when you create so many chances, you have to score. We scored, but the goals were disallowed and we hit the bar.

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Antonio Conte was pleased by Tottenham's performance and said he’s not worried about Heung-Min Son's failure to score

"I loved to see my players play the ball with personality and to see the three strikers working very hard for the team with the ball and without the ball. They give us a lot of quality and a lot of danger for the opponent.

"When I see this type of performance from my players, [Heung-Min] Son included, I'm not worried, I know that these strikers are going to score many goals.

"It's important to have great enthusiasm and to be excited for the team but at the same time, I have to be realistic.

"Don't forget last November the situation was really problematic because we lost 3-0 at home against United and then the club decided to make a different decision [sacking Nuno Espirito Santo and appointing him].

"If someone thinks that we cancelled everything and we are at the same level of the other top teams, I think this is not realistic. If I want to tell you a lie, I can tell you a lie, but I like to tell the truth.

"I am the first to say that we have to play this season with ambition, to be competitive but we finished the last season with 20 points less than City and Liverpool.

"Now I think we are doing good things, but it's really soon to give a realistic judgement in my opinion. It doesn't mean we won't be ambitious and fight for something, but I have a bit of experience to tell you that we need time and patience."

Analysis: 'Warrior' Richarlison impresses

Sky Sports' Nick Wright:

"You feel him on the side of the pitch," said Antonio Conte with a smile. "You feel his personality. He is a warrior, a fighter. We needed this type of player." Richarlison is, undoubtedly, his type of player.

The Brazilian was outstanding on his first start for Spurs, a whirlwind of energy and ferocious aggression, and with no shortage of quality either.

The completeness of his performance could be seen in the statistics.

Richarlison created four chances, including his cushioned assist for Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's opener. He had 10 touches in the opposition box, three more than anyone else. He had three shots, and would have had a goal, too, had it not been for a marginal VAR call which ruled out his late strike for offside.

Richarlison shone on his full debut for Tottenham against Fulham
Image: Richarlison shone on his full debut for Tottenham against Fulham

He caused havoc in Fulham's defence, dovetailing with Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son as if he had been there for years, but it was what he did out of possession that truly excited Conte.

"Many players with talent, they don't want to work for the ball," added the Spurs boss in his press conference.

Richarlison is plainly not one of them.

His appetite for the dirty work could be seen in the moments after the VAR call which cost him his goal. Richarlison held his head in his hands, but only for a second. Then, he was off again, chasing, hustling and harrying the Fulham defenders ahead of him.

By the end of the game, Premier League tracking data showed nobody in a Spurs shirt had recorded more high-intensity sprints (26), made more tackles (four) or won more duels (nine), while only Rodrigo Bentancur ran further than his 11.3km.

"For me, he played in an amazing way, honestly," continued Conte.

Some baulked at the £60m fee Spurs paid to sign him from Everton but the early evidence suggests it will prove money well spent. Richarlison, the ultimate Conte player, will fight to make sure of it.

Silva: We weren't good enough

Fulham head coach Marco Silva:

"Definitely wasn't our best performance at all. I think we didn't get our standards most of the time.

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Marco Silva felt Fulham didn't start well enough and conceded that Tottenham deserved to win the game

"Our first half was not good enough. We knew the way they come to pressure us, but we were not good enough on the ball. We gave it away so easily. We took so many wrong decisions. We were not dynamic enough to create problems.

"The second half, I saw much more courage from our team. We tried until the end. There was a very good chance for Mitro to equalise but I have to be honest, Tottenham deserved the three points."

Analysis: Leno proving a bargain for Fulham

Sky Sports' Nick Wright:

"Top, top, top goalkeeper," said Marco Silva when asked about Bernd Leno in the wake of Fulham's 2-1 loss to Tottenham. "I probably repeat the same thing every week," he added with a smile.

The German, a summer signing from Arsenal, has been excellent this season and produced arguably his best performance yet on Saturday, keeping Spurs at bay almost single-handedly at times, much as he did their north London rivals last weekend.

In total, there were eight saves, taking his total in a Fulham shirt to 19. Since his debut in their 3-2 win over Brentford two weeks ago, only two goalkeepers, Nick Pope and Jordan Pickford, have made more.

The underlying data shows how important they have been.

Leno has conceded seven times in his four appearances so far, but Opta's expected goals model says he should have conceded nine, based on the quality of shots he has faced.

"When he needs to make a statement in a game, he is always there," added Silva. The Fulham boss also praised the 30-year-old's maturity and his ability to transmit "calmness" to the defenders in front of him.

Indeed, the shot-stopping is only one part of his offering. Leno arrived at Fulham having lost his place at Arsenal but the deal that took him there, worth a maximum of £8m including add-ons, looks like a bargain already.

Spurs' strong start to the season - Opta stats

  • Tottenham have 14 points from six Premier League games this season (W4 D2 L0), their joint-highest total at this stage of a campaign in the competition alongside 2016/17, when they went on to achieve their highest ever finish in the division (2nd).
  • Tottenham earned their 100th London derby victory in the Premier League, the third club to reach that total, after Chelsea (147) and Arsenal (142).
  • Tottenham have won each of their first three home matches of a Premier League campaign for just a third time, having previously done so in 2000/01 and 2002/03.

What's next?

Tottenham must now prepare for a huge week, which begins with a Champions League clash at home to Marseille on Wednesday September 7, with kick off at 8pm.

Spurs' focus must then quickly switch to Saturday September 10 when they travel to Manchester City, live on Sky Sports, with kick off at 5.30pm.

Live Premier League

Fulham will face another London derby next weekend, when neighbours Chelsea travel to Craven Cottage for a 12.30pm kick off on Saturday September 10.

Marco Silva will then take his side north to face another newly-promoted club in Nottingham Forest on Friday September 16, with kick off at 8pm.

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