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Inside Lane: A Spurs fan’s view on the draw at Hull

Tottenham's Paulinho (left) battles with Tom Huddlestone at the KC Stadium Tottenham's Paulinho (left) battles with Tom Huddlestone at the KC Stadium

By George Lacey
Monday, February 3, 2014
10:45 AM

Tottenham blogger George Lacey looks back on Saturday’s 1-1 draw away at Hull’s KC Stadium.

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As I predicted prior to last week’s 5-1 home defeat against Manchester City, Tim Sherwood didn’t bring anyone in during the transfer window - and Lewis Holtby proved to be the only player to leave, departing on loan to Fulham, while Jermain Defoe will head off to Toronto at the end of this month.

A move for Dimitar Berbatov was mooted on deadline day, and it was believed he could return to Spurs as part of the deal that took Holtby to Craven Cottage.

I felt a little disheartened that Berbatov sealed a move to Monaco instead of making a controversial return to Spurs, but I am happy we haven’t added more distraction to the saga at White Hart Lane.

Our 1-1 draw away at Hull on Saturday wasn’t the best result, given that similarly- placed teams also dropped points over the weekend. However, we never looked like losing the game and were on top for most of the second half.

Sherwood reverted back to his preferred 4-4-2 formation for the trip to the KC Stadium, with Roberto Soldado drafted back in to partner Emmanuel Adebayor up top.

Yet the Spaniard again failed to find the target, and his one golden chance was spurned when he volleyed straight at Steve Harper when he should have scored.

Although Yaya Toure and Fernandinho made Nabil Bentaleb look like a school kid last week, the teenager kept his position in central midfield, partnering the returning Paulinho in Mousa Dembele’s absence.

The youngster actually came close to scoring with a second-half volley, but his surprise inclusion as a regular first-team player under Sherwood’s mentorship should not last much longer in my opinion.

It is encouraging that Sherwood is prepared to give everyone a crack at getting into the first team, regardless of their reputation.

But, with Paulinho, Sandro and Dembele all back in the squad now, the three internationals will surely ease out the young Frenchman as doubts also continue over his countryman Etienne Capoue, who doesn’t seem to be flavour of the month.

The most promising outcome of Saturday’s trip to Yorkshire were the returns of Jan Vertonghen and goalscorer Paulinho, with both men completing the full 90 minutes.

Belgian Vertonghen has been a stalwart in Spurs’ back four since his arrival in the summer of 2012, and his presence back in the side will certainly give the team a lift after his long injury lay-off.

Both Vertonghen and Paulinho are key players for Spurs and I feel that having them both fit for the remainder of the season will be integral to any chances we have of taking the fight for Champions League football to the wire.

In our quest for the top four, we welcome Everton to the Lane on Sunday in a huge game that really is a must-win clash, given that we lie one point behind them in the table.

Follow me on Twitter @GeorgeLacey_

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