Francis irritated by slack Spurs

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The Independent Online
Tottenham Hotspur 1 Queen's Park Rangers 0

They were selling T-shirts outside the ground recalling Tottenham's Premiership victory over Arsenal this season - each one bearing the 2- 1 scoreline and an accompanying message: Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part II.

Saturday's completion of a League double over their West London rivals is unlikely to be celebrated with a similar initiative. Gifted a goal after just three minutes, Tottenham ended a mess of a match defending nervously against a side which has managed only 12 goals in 17 games.

The home side's manager, Gerry Francis, presented three basic reasons to be cheerful afterwards: one defeat in 15 games; four clean sheets in a row; joint third. However, he admitted that his side had disappointed him with the slackness of their performance once Teddy Sheringham had tucked away a loose ball after Jurgen Sommer had parried Ronny Rosenthal's shot.

If Tottenham have to guard against complacency, Rangers have the opposite problem after a slide in form that has left them in the relegation area. They have - not surprisingly - struggled to find a replacement for Les Ferdinand up front, and Mark Hateley, signed from Rangers for pounds 2.5m, proved a mixed blessing in only his second full game for them following a cartilage operation.

The policy of aiming crosses at his hirsute head reached a point of slavishness, compromising Rangers' traditional sublety. While Hateley rose gamely to the challenge, his knock-downs went nowhere useful. He has yet to be integrated with his team-mates - unlike Sheringham, whose back problem has put his England place against Portugal tomorrow in jeopardy.

Ray Wilkins, Rangers' urbane player-manager, stressed the need for his side to regain their confidence. "We need a good win," he said. He paused for a moment, before adding: "We need a win."

Goal: Sheringham (3) 1-0.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Walker; Campbell (Edinburgh, 84), Mabbutt, Calderwood, Wilson; Fox, Dozzell, Howells, Rosenthal; Armstrong, Sheringham. Substitutes not used: McMahon, Day (gk).

Queen's Park Rangers (4-4-2): Sommer; Bardsley, Yates, McDonald, Challis; Impey, Holloway, Barker (Charles, 77), Sinclair; Hateley, Gallen (Osborn, 62). Substitute not used: Maddix.

Referee: K Cooper (Mid Glamorgan).

Bookings: Tottenham: Howells. QPR: McDonald, Barker.

Man of the match: Sheringham.

Attendance: 28,851.

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