| 8.2°C Dublin

Dembele hip injury worry for Tottenham

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

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.

Dembele (25), who has been a big hit since arriving for £15million, had to come off at half-time during Belgium's win over Scotland on Tuesday after triggering 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 admits losing Dembele for a similar length of time would be a big blow.

"Top players are missed," Villas-Boas 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.

"Fulham took him off for a period of two weeks. He had a chance to play (on Saturday) and had a late fitness test but the pain didn't go away. It's something that comes back to him."

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.

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 the derby defeat was frustrating.

"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."