Tottenham ended their four-match winless streak to condemn Fulham to a sixth straight league defeat in Rene Meulensteen's first match in charge.

Ashkan Dejagah's driven opener gave Fulham the lead, before Vlad Chiriches equalised with a 35-yard half-volley.

But Lewis Holtby, a half-time substitute, struck a 20-yard winner - his first Premier League goal - to leave Fulham three points from safety.

Bryan Ruiz was denied an equaliser by Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris late on.

Fulham's December fixtures

  • 8 December - Aston Villa (home)
  • 14 December - Everton (away)
  • 21 December - Man City (home)
  • 26 December - Norwich (away)
  • 28 December - Hull (away)

Former Manchester United coach Meulensteen took charge of first-team affairs earlier this week after Martin Jol's sacking, having been appointed head coach at Craven Cottage in November.

And the Dutchman's appointment looked to have made an impact as the home side dominated for long stages before being undone by a stirring last 20 minutes from an otherwise disappointing Tottenham.

The visitors came into the game under pressure themselves, having not won in four games and scoring just two goals in that period.

A lot of Spurs' problems this campaign have been in front of goal as, with last season's top scorer Gareth Bale now at Real Madrid, only Sunderland and Crystal Palace had scored fewer in the top flight.

Summer signing Roberto Soldado was the one to pay the price as Jermain Defoe replaced him in attack for just his second Premier League start of the campaign.

The England international almost justified his selection in the opening minutes with a low shot from 12 yards that was well saved by goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg after latching on to a loose Fulham pass.

Fulham have had their own goalscoring problems this season, having also only hit the net 11 times prior to the match, and their preparations were not helped by Dimitar Berbatov's agent saying the striker would consider leaving the Cottagers  in January.

We kept going to the end - Meulensteen

The Bulgarian, who has scored just once this campaign, returned to the line-up after missing Saturday's defeat by West Ham through illness as one of seven changes made by Meulensteen, with no room in the squad for another former Spurs striker Darren Bent.

Berbatov, who was jeered by sections of Craven Cottage pre-match, went close to scoring with Fulham's first chance of the game, heading straight at Lloris before his first touch let him down when put through on goal by Alex Kacaniklic.

The Cottagers were enjoying the early pressure and Giorgos Karagounis was the next to go close with a low 20-yard drive that was turned wide by Lloris.

The Frenchman, making his 50th Tottenham appearance, then brilliantly tipped a low Berbatov volley wide and, seconds later, Paulinho was left with his head in his hands at the other end after missing the best chance of the early stages.

He had just Stekelenburg to beat, after Defoe's break, but his wild finish flew over the bar with the Fulham goalkeeper already committed.

Tottenham were a long way off their best in the opening half, with passes going astray too often, but were still creating chances with Erik Lamela going close twice in the space of a couple of minutes, first side-footing wide and then having a deflected strike parried wide by Stekelenburg.

Spurs character pleases Villas-Boas

The visitors started the second half well but were stunned by Dejagah's opener, laid on by Berbatov, just seconds after the latter had shot into the side netting.

Chiriches's equaliser out of nothing suddenly gave Andre Villas-Boas's men new hope and they were almost ahead soon after with Defoe looping a shot over the bar when clear through on goal.

Holtby's winner came eight minutes from time and despite a late flurry, including Pajtim Kasami hitting the outside of the post, Fulham were unable to secure what would have been a deserved point.

Catch up with all of Wednesday's Premier League action through the BBC Sport Facebook page. 

Fulham head coach Rene Meulensteen:

"I thought we were good and well organised. Maybe there was a bit of offside with Defoe's position for the equaliser, but the second goal he [Holtby] struck really well.

"I said to the players I want an inspired performance, that is how we win the fans back, and we did that

"Dimitar Berbatov was phenomenal, the way he led the line was evidence of his quality. No-one knows him better than me because I worked with him for a long time.

"I think we are hard done by with some results but it is up to the players, I refuse to get negative."

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas:

"It was very important for us. Us and Fulham were looking to put our challenges back on track and we couldn't wait any longer; it had to happen today and we did it in the most difficult way.

"It was two great goals. After Fulham scored they were crowding the spaces in front of goal and it was difficult to break them down. We scored two cracking goals.

"We want to use this momentum, we have reacted to the Manchester City defeat with two wins already and a draw at home to Manchester United.

"Hopefully now December and January can be the months we put ourselves back on track."

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (6)

Fulham

  • 01 Stekelenburg
  • 27 Riether
  • 03 Riise
  • 14 Karagounis (Sidwell - 62' )
  • 04 Senderos Booked
  • 18 Hughes
  • 24 Dejagah
  • 28 Parker (Ruiz - 87' )
  • 09 Berbatov
  • 08 Kasami Booked
  • 11 Kacaniklic (Duff - 85' )

Substitutes

  • 07 Sidwell
  • 10 Ruiz
  • 13 Stockdale
  • 16 Duff
  • 19 Taarabt
  • 22 Zverotic
  • 23 Boateng

Tottenham Hotspur

  • 25 Lloris
  • 02 Walker
  • 05 Vertonghen
  • 15 Capoue Booked (Holtby - 45' )
  • 20 Dawson
  • 06 Chiriches
  • 11 Lamela (Townsend - 78' )
  • 30 Sandro (Chadli - 69' )
  • 18 Defoe
  • 08 Paulinho
  • 07 Lennon

Substitutes

  • 09 Soldado
  • 14 Holtby
  • 16 Naughton
  • 17 Townsend
  • 21 Chadli
  • 22 Sigurdsson
  • 24 Friedel
Ref: Mark Clattenburg
Att: 24,128

Match Stats

Shots

16 18

On target

6 5

Corners

9 7

Fouls

7 16

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Fulham 1, Tottenham Hotspur 2.

90:00 +3:08 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Fulham 1, Tottenham Hotspur 2.

90:00 +2:50

Pajtim Kasami (Fulham) hits the right post with a right footed shot from the right side of the box. Assisted by Sascha Riether following a set piece situation.

90:00 +2:21

Foul by Paulinho (Tottenham Hotspur).

90:00 +2:21

Bryan Ruiz (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +1:26

Foul by Nacer Chadli (Tottenham Hotspur).

90:00 +1:26

Sascha Riether (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +0:53 Booking

Booking Philippe Senderos (Fulham) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

90:00 +0:50

Andros Townsend (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick on the left wing.

90:00 +0:50

Foul by Philippe Senderos (Fulham).

88:05

Dangerous play by Lewis Holtby (Tottenham Hotspur).

88:05

Bryan Ruiz (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

87:29

Attempt missed. Philippe Senderos (Fulham) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Bryan Ruiz with a cross following a corner.

87:00

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Hugo Lloris.

86:57

Attempt saved. Bryan Ruiz (Fulham) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Dimitar Berbatov.

86:40 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Fulham. Bryan Ruiz replaces Scott Parker.

86:14

Hand ball by Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur).

85:14

Offside, Fulham. Philippe Senderos tries a through ball, but Dimitar Berbatov is caught offside.

84:57 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Fulham. Damien Duff replaces Alexander Kacaniklic.

84:01

Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Maarten Stekelenburg.

83:56

Attempt saved. Paulinho (Tottenham Hotspur) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Lewis Holtby with a cross.

83:07

Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Aaron Hughes.

81:46 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Fulham 1, Tottenham Hotspur 2. Lewis Holtby (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Kyle Walker.

81:02

Andros Townsend (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

81:02

Foul by Scott Parker (Fulham).

79:40

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Hugo Lloris.

79:39

Attempt saved. Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Alexander Kacaniklic with a cross.

79:29

Foul by Lewis Holtby (Tottenham Hotspur).

79:29

Steve Sidwell (Fulham) wins a free kick on the left wing.

77:25 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Andros Townsend replaces Erik Lamela.

76:30

Offside, Fulham. Dimitar Berbatov tries a through ball, but Pajtim Kasami is caught offside.

75:46

Attempt missed. Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Kyle Walker following a fast break.

75:03

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Kyle Walker.

72:43 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Fulham 1, Tottenham Hotspur 1. Vlad Chiriches (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner following a corner.

72:18

Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Maarten Stekelenburg.

71:40

Vlad Chiriches (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick on the left wing.

71:40

Foul by Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham).

68:41

Hand ball by Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham).

68:07 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Nacer Chadli replaces Sandro.

64:05

Attempt missed. Pajtim Kasami (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Steve Sidwell.

61:30

Michael Dawson (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

61:30

Foul by Philippe Senderos (Fulham).

61:07 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Fulham. Steve Sidwell replaces Giorgos Karagounis.

60:18

Foul by Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur).

60:18

Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham) wins a free kick on the right wing.

58:03

Foul by Sandro (Tottenham Hotspur).

58:03

Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

57:17

Attempt missed. Lewis Holtby (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jermain Defoe.

56:00 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Fulham 1, Tottenham Hotspur 0. Ashkan Dejagah (Fulham) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Dimitar Berbatov.

55:20

Attempt missed. Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

54:42

Attempt blocked. Pajtim Kasami (Fulham) header from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Giorgos Karagounis.

53:46

Foul by Vlad Chiriches (Tottenham Hotspur).

53:46

Giorgos Karagounis (Fulham) wins a free kick on the right wing.

52:08

Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Aaron Hughes.

52:07

Attempt blocked. Sandro (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

52:04

Attempt blocked. Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Aaron Lennon with a cross.

49:45

Attempt blocked. Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Aaron Lennon.

47:17

Offside, Fulham. John Arne Riise tries a through ball, but Dimitar Berbatov is caught offside.

46:51

Attempt blocked. Lewis Holtby (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

45:22

Foul by Lewis Holtby (Tottenham Hotspur).

45:22

Giorgos Karagounis (Fulham) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

45:00

Second Half begins Fulham 0, Tottenham Hotspur 0.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Lewis Holtby replaces Etienne Capoue.

45:00 +0:59 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Fulham 0, Tottenham Hotspur 0.

45:00 +0:43

Attempt missed. Paulinho (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Kyle Walker with a cross.

44:54

Attempt blocked. Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

43:12

Attempt missed. John Arne Riise (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a corner.

42:37

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Etienne Capoue.

42:35

Attempt blocked. Pajtim Kasami (Fulham) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

40:32

Offside, Fulham. Aaron Hughes tries a through ball, but Dimitar Berbatov is caught offside.

37:49

Attempt missed. Alexander Kacaniklic (Fulham) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high. Assisted by Giorgos Karagounis.

37:00

Attempt missed. Etienne Capoue (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Kyle Walker.

34:04

Hand ball by Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur).

34:02

Attempt missed. Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Kyle Walker with a cross following a corner.

33:31

Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Scott Parker.

33:29

Attempt blocked. Aaron Lennon (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Kyle Walker.

32:46

Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Giorgos Karagounis.

32:33

Attempt saved. Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Etienne Capoue.

31:35 Booking

Booking Pajtim Kasami (Fulham) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

31:17

Michael Dawson (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

31:17

Foul by Pajtim Kasami (Fulham).

30:37

Attempt missed. Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Jermain Defoe following a fast break.

26:24

Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

26:24

Foul by Alexander Kacaniklic (Fulham).

24:31

Attempt missed. John Arne Riise (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a corner.

24:10

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Kyle Walker.

24:07

Attempt blocked. Ashkan Dejagah (Fulham) header from very close range is blocked. Assisted by Giorgos Karagounis with a cross.

23:49

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Erik Lamela.

22:50

Attempt missed. Paulinho (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Jermain Defoe following a fast break.

22:12

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Hugo Lloris.

22:11

Attempt saved. Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

21:20

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Sandro.

20:49

Foul by Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur).

20:49

Giorgos Karagounis (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

12:59

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Hugo Lloris.

12:57

Attempt saved. Giorgos Karagounis (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by John Arne Riise.

12:13 Booking

Booking Etienne Capoue (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

12:07

Foul by Etienne Capoue (Tottenham Hotspur).

12:07

Alexander Kacaniklic (Fulham) wins a free kick on the left wing.

10:34

Attempt saved. Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Giorgos Karagounis with a cross.

10:03

Foul by Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur).

10:03

Alexander Kacaniklic (Fulham) wins a free kick on the left wing.

7:50

Foul by Etienne Capoue (Tottenham Hotspur).

7:50

Ashkan Dejagah (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

5:24

Foul by Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur).

5:24

Giorgos Karagounis (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

4:46

Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Scott Parker.

4:44

Attempt saved. Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Sandro.

1:09

Foul by Vlad Chiriches (Tottenham Hotspur).

1:09

Giorgos Karagounis (Fulham) wins a free kick on the right wing.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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