It is tough to shake off a stereotype sometimes. Tottenham’s troubles in years gone by seemed so aptly summed up by one word: Spursy. But it now needs a new definition.
The derisive term still regularly appears on social media. Almost every time Tottenham concede, in fact, and particularly when the circumstances are deemed to be tragic.
So when Mauricio Pochettino’s side went behind inside a minute and a half on Wednesday, there it was. Spursy. And when Juventus made it 2-0 soon afterwards, it popped up again. Spursy. There could be no doubt.
But this Tottenham team is made of sterner stuff and that is down to the mentality instilled by Pochettino and his coaching staff over the past three-and-half seasons. Spurs no longer roll over like they did before.
It has taken time and it will take more still. Even last season, Tottenham’s timid exit in the Champions League group stages showed that there was plenty more work ahead.
But Spurs are not the only team to concede early in a game, to lose to a weaker rival or to throw away a result late in a match. These things happen to the best of sides.
Chelsea went down 3-0 at home to Bournemouth recently, Manchester United lost at promoted Huddersfield in October, Liverpool let a three-goal lead slip against Sevilla and Arsenal have been beaten away by Stoke, Watford and Swansea this term.
Apart from the imperious Manchester City and perhaps Barcelona, no side in Europe this season has gone without the occasional embarrassment. And that includes Real Madrid.
Tottenham finished above the current European champions in the Champions League group stages, while they remain unbeaten in the continental competition, are still in the FA Cup and also well on track for a top-four place in the Premier League given their superb recent run.
So the first 10 minutes on Wednesday were the exception, not the rule. And Spursy is what Tottenham did to turn the game and the tie around in the remainder of the match. The word needs a new definition.
Spursy these days is a stirring comeback against a Juve side that had conceded one goal in 16 games. Spursy is drawing at the Bernabéu and beating Real Madrid at home. Spursy is brave wins over United and Arsenal. Spursy is fighting back for a draw at Anfield.
Spursy is a whole new reality for an exciting young team with a brilliant coach and a beautiful new stadium on the way, punching above their weight to mix it with Europe’s elite. Get used to it.