Andre Villas-Boas: Tottenham must shake off traditional end of season slump

Spurs lost 1-0 at home to Fulham on Sunday

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The Independent Football

Andre Villas-Boas warned his Tottenham Hotspur players they must snap out of their traditional end-of-season wobble quickly if they are to achieve Champions League qualification for next season.

Dimitar Berbatov's second-half winner condemned his former club to a third defeat of the week, leaving Spurs in fourth place, just four points clear of Arsenal having played a game more. Tottenham threw away a 10-point lead to finish behind their north London rivals last year, and Villas-Boas admitted the pressure of history has had an effect on a team that had gone 12 Premier League matches unbeaten before losing to Liverpool last week.

"You can't hide from what has happened in the past with Spurs. You can just have another opportunity to fight what is written compared to the past," he said. "It has been difficult month for us. If we are able to find our form or confidence and win then we can end that cycle that Spurs normally have.

"Now it has shifted, the situation in two weekends. It has become a difficult situation, a little bit like we found ourselves previously, with Arsenal still competing. The most important thing is that we have enough games – important games – that can enable us to get out of that situation."

In a game of few clear-cut chances, Fulham maintained their record of never losing when Berbatov scores and secured a first victory in four attempts for Martin Jol against the club he guided to fifth place in 2006. It took Fulham back into the top half of the table and maintained their nine-point cushion over the bottom three.

"Before the game you hope for a point but Berbatov said 'you have to trust me' and I thought he was joking," said Jol. "He said it before the match against Stoke as well and he is a wonderful player. The only thing he wants is a day off if he scores so I promised him a day off and he scores. He's a remarkable boy."