Spurs' Parker, Assou-Ekotto near return
LONDON -- Tottenham Hotspur's Scott Parker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto have returned to training and could take part in Sunday's home Premier League clash with Swansea City (1330 GMT).
Midfielder Parker has not played this season due to an Achilles' injury he picked up while playing for England at Euro 2012, while attack-minded left back Assou-Ekotto has been out for three months with a knee complaint.
"Scott Parker is making a good recovery, he may be involved against Swansea, same with Benoit," manager Andre Villas-Boas told a news conference.
The Portuguese also said defender Michael Dawson is in contention after missing the 2-1 defeat at Everton, while Gareth Bale, who limped off against Fulham two weeks ago, is highly doubtful.
Villas-Boas was grateful for a rare seven-day break between matches, having played 10 games in five weeks due to Europa League participation and the Capital One (League) Cup.
It allowed the side to work on areas that needed improvement after they conceded two late goals against Everton to end a three-match league winning streak.
"The dressing room was extremely disappointed after Everton. To see the result shift and us to take nothing was difficult," Villas-Boas said.
"The boys came into training this week with desire and wanted to improve.
"I approach the players as individuals and I know we can bounce back which we have done this week. We take the blame for the first half and how we suffered with goals but we learn from it and we evolve as players and as a manager.
"When a defeat happens there are always things to analyse. We worked on aspects that didn't go well last week like keeping possession and our defensive shape."
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