Stand down soldiers. The game could have easily finished 0-0. Would the same fighty angst be relevant had it? Would it still be relevant with a 1-0 win in our favour considering how the game played out in terms of performance? They found a way through. We didn't.
These results away to the likes of Utd are the ones that ultimately define our progression. Are we still not good enough regardless of the variables that suggest we might be? Luck, punishing mistakes, making them. It formulates, binding a singular performance into many and producing the end product - for us or them. It remains incomplete for Tottenham. Or not refined enough. It's the same thing. Was this simply a game between two of the best teams in the country where the football didn't match the stature and the victory (just) out of our reach?
Yet we persistently push on. We regenerate form and spirit. That over achievement contends where it has no right to, landing punches and eating them too. We're up against football clubs that breed present day success because of decades of culture building. Their foundation is a monument. We're also up against clubs that buy that culture. Fast food masked as fine dining. Spurs persist with their architectural quirks and the marginal miscalculations. All we get is a buffet.
It's going to be okay though. Hug it out. This team under Poch never gives up. His culture is fledgling but it's not apologetic. We all know how short termism dominates football but the club seems to understand the challenge is one which is reliant on longevity. It’s one game. It’s one of many that can’t be changed but exist as reminders of what's still required. Everything ahead of us can still be owned. As long as we learn from it.
We are learning, right?
Are we about to reach the upper level where further education fails to enlighten us? Have we reached full capacity? Is it completely irrelevant what we do and how organically we do it because the essential fiscal cutting edge is beyond our reach? Are we playing a game we can't win? Is our desire misplaced or pivotal to our evolution? We practically ignore the lesser cups. The league campaign generates an intensity for growth far more productive than concentrating on silverware that means nothing until your rotated second string find themselves in semi-final. I'm just telling it how I see it.
Pause for thought.
Even with all the variables (supposedly) up against us, it's the anomalies that have given us headaches. Leicester City. Chelsea and their single season break from the Champions League. Excuses that remain a reality we have to accept. These obstacles will never go away. We can't hope others will falter or not surprise because they simply won't care. Much like we shouldn't either. We should focus on us. We have to be better. Christ, I hate to say this, but even if it means sacrificing a bit of tradition and style to do what Jose did to us. Not completely, just a little more shrewdness in execution.
Losing to Utd was once upon a time a tradition of capitulation. Now it’s disappointment in defeat because we expected so much more. They’re the team having to contain us, not vice versa. It's only 3 points lost right? Wrong. It's about the psychology behind it that remains priceless. We've won games at Old Trafford before but winning the one we lost would have given us that spark of mental momentum. A step towards the next away game against one of the big dogs. The difference maker. Steps formulating into a swaggering stride giving us that missing end product that will result with a conclusion we've yet to experience.
It's brilliantly Tottenham that we're often tagged as the best footballing side in the country (City will want words with us this season though). It's brilliant because as good as we are, we're not yet great and we have nothing to show for it. Nothing to stick in the trophy cabinet. It's like purgatory with an unlimited supply of recreational drugs. Plenty of highs and comedowns. Everything has changed but isn't changing even though we're within touching distance of heaven.