Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

AVB hopeful over Dembele injury

Mousa Dembele's, pictured, services were greatly missed by Andre Villas-Boas' Tottenham

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas hopes he will not be without Mousa Dembele for too long after revealing the midfielder has suffered a recurrence of the niggling hip injury which sidelined him for Fulham last season.

Spurs greatly missed Dembele's calmness and distribution on Saturday as their four-match winning streak came to an end at the hands of Chelsea, who ran out 4-2 winners at White Hart Lane.

"Top players are missed," the Spurs boss said. "He had a scan, but we haven't seen the results yet. He suffers discomfort and pain on his hip which is not something that shows on the scan so it's difficult to assess."

Dembele, who has been a big hit since arriving for £15million on deadline day, had to come off at half-time during Belgium's win over Scotland on Tuesday after the 25-year-old fell and triggered an old hip injury he suffered at Fulham last season.

The versatile player missed three games towards the end of January with the same problem and Villas-Boas added: "He had a chance to play (yesterday) and had a late fitness test but the pain didn't go away. It's something that comes back to him. He fell awkwardly in the Scotland game against Belgium and felt the pain."

Without Dembele, and Gareth Bale, who missed the game because his partner went into labour, Spurs looked weak in midfield, with Tom Huddlestone still lacking match sharpness after recovering from a long-term ankle injury this summer.

Much had been made of Villas-Boas' hidden determination to get one over on his old employers and defender Jan Vertonghen admits the manner of Saturday's London derby defeat was frustrating.

"At home we seem to play better in the second half than the first," said Vertonghen, who signed from Ajax this summer. "We need to think about how to put two strong halves together.

"We need to work out how to put a bit more pressure on teams from the start. They were the best team I faced this year, but I knew they would be.

"I knew their players before I came here and what they are capable of. Chelsea are a good team but I feel we should have done better."

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