Tottenham won for the third Premier League game running, beating Fulham at Craven Cottage to move back into the top four.
Home victories over Aston Villa and Liverpool on home turf had eased the pressure on Andre Villas-Boas’ shoulders and put their Champions League ambitions back on track with all three points on the Thames.
Winning has become something of an alien concept for the Cottagers who haven’t tasted a league success since mid-October and dropped into the bottom half after a bright start to the season.
Gareth Bale, who later went off for a suspected hamstring injury, was booked for diving in the 24th minute following a challenge with Steve Sidwell.
It turned out to be the most notable moment of a drab first half that saw several players line up against their former employers, Tottenham pair Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele lining up against Fulham for the first time while ex-Spurs boss Martin Jol included erstwhile White Hart Lane star Dimitar Berbatov in his starting lineup.
Berbatov was uncharacteristically quiet on an afternoon where nothing went right for the hosts and it was no surprise when Sandro beat Mark Schwarzer with a low strike from range to break the deadlock for Spurs in the 55th minute.
Having lost captain Michael Dawson to injury in the 17th minute Bale hobbled off just after the hour, but it made to difference as the Welshman’s replacement Gylfi Sigurdsson set up Jermain Defoe to score from close range in the 72nd minute and make the game safe.
Defoe struck again five minutes later, latching on to Dempsey’s weight through pass and cooly finish past Schwarzer to continue his excellent scoring run. Fulham mounted a feeble effort to save the game but Hugo Lloris was on hand to deny Mladen Petric.