Football

Pochettino hopes for Fulham fillip

Mauricio Pochettino admits Tottenham have run into a "bad period", after they suffered a surprise first-leg loss to Gent in the Europa League last 32 yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The 1-0 loss at the Ghelamco Arena continues a worrying dip in form for Pochettino's men, who have won only two of their last six matches after winning their previous seven in a row.

They have scored only once in their last four.

Pochettino said: "Good and bad things happen. We've started now a bad period. I hope, on Sunday (FA Cup fifth-round game against Fulham), we break that negative run.

"It's not about confidence. We were wrong with our judgement if we think, because of Liverpool, it's only about confidence."

Tottenham's poor performance was all the more surprising given Pochettino fielded a strong team that included the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Mousa Dembele and Toby Alderweireld.

Their disappointing night was compounded by Kane sustaining a knock to his knee.

Kane later suggested the injury was not serious, but the striker is still unlikely to be risked against Fulham tomorrow.

He was seen walking out of the stadium, seemingly unhindered and, when asked whether he would be fit for the game at Craven Cottage, he said: "Yes, it should be fine."

For Gent coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck, who celebrated his 53rd birthday on Thursday, it was a special night after seeing Jeremy Perbet clinch a second-half winner for his side.

He said: "We're happy. We believed in our own qualities. We were not afraid to play and that is a victory in itself for me.

"I told them to believe it was possible to win. To do that, was the cherry on the cake for me." - PA SPORT

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