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Defensive dearth worries Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp

Michael Dawson (right) is shown the red card by referee Phil Dowd
Dawson's dismissal means he will miss Spurs' next three matches

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp bemoaned his lack of available defenders after Michael Dawson's sending off in the 4-0 FA Cup fourth round loss at Fulham.

Dawson will serve a three-match ban for the red card he earned in conceding a first-half penalty at Craven Cottage.

Injuries to Ledley King, Younes Kaboul and Jonathan Woodgate means Spurs have only William Gallas and Sebastien Bassong available for upcoming games.

"We could have done without the sending-off," Redknapp told ESPN.

"We're getting short of numbers and, from having loads of centre-halves, we now have Kaboul having an operation, Dawson suspended and King and Woodgate out, so that leaves us with two.

"We have games on Wednesday and at the weekend and it becomes a different game with one spare defender."

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Tottenham - who are fifth in the Premier League table - face a midweek trip to Blackburn, followed by a home game with Bolton and an away game at Sunderland on the 12 February.

Having seen a potential route to silverware permanently blocked via Sunday's heavy defeat at Fulham, Spurs will be even more determined to ensure they secure a second-successive Champions League qualification via a top-four league finish.

The north Londoners were uncharacteristically sloppy in the Cup tie at Craven Cottage, where two Danny Murphy penalties in the opening 15 minutes set the tone for the match.

The first was awarded for Alan Hutton's foul on Clint Dempsey and the second for Dawson's dragging back of Moussa Dembele when the striker had a clean shooting opportunity.

Redknapp suggested Dawson's dismissal was "harsh", but did not shy away from blaming his players for the mistakes that led to the goals.

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"We got off to a disastrous start and it was game over after the two penalties. They were uncharacteristic errors from people," Redknapp reflected.

"You don't see Michael making too many errors but he has had a nightmare start, giving the ball away, the penalty and then the sending-off.

"It has nothing to do with tactics when someone gives the ball away and we bring them down for a penalty, lose the ball and try to dribble out of trouble."

Fulham killed the tie before half time courtesy of Brede Hangeland's close-range finish from a corner in the 23rd minute and Dembele's superb solo effort seconds before the break.

The second half was a mere formality, although it could have been worse for the visitors had Aaron Hughes' header not struck the bar and Jermaine Jenas clearing off the line from Hangeland as he pounced on the rebound.

"I think it's been coming, especially against Spurs," Fulham manager Mark Hughes commented. "We've played well on two occasions against them and haven't had any reward.

Danny Murphy
Murphy's goals were his first since March last year

"We were on the front foot, forced errors from their back four."

Hughes also reserved praise for Murphy, whose performance backed up the signing of a new deal on Saturday .

"Danny is a big influence on the pitch, a good captain and a good leader and we're pleased he's staying," he added.

"You saw with his performance today that he gets on the ball and makes us tick. It was important that we secured his future."

Murphy was understandably positive after helping his side to victory with two goals against his former club.

"I think we started brightly, on the front foot and of course the sending off helped, but it was thoroughly deserved and it was won by half-time," Murphy stated.

"We saw they didn't play a big man up front, so we pressed them to play longer balls and we caught them out. Because we got the goals, we could relax in the second half.

"It's satisfying because we haven't beaten Tottenham for a while."



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see also
Hughes eyes Fulham Cup run
30 Jan 11 |  Fulham
Players are running on empty - Redknapp
30 Jan 11 |  Tottenham
Fulham 4-0 Tottenham
30 Jan 11 |  FA Cup
Sunday's FA Cup as it happened
30 Jan 11 |  Football
Sunday's football photos
30 Jan 11 |  Football


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