This was by no means a vintage Spurs performance, but they got the win they desperately needed and Harry Kane took another step towards becoming a record-breaker.
Like a snowball gathering pace as it grows in size rolling down a hill, Spurs seem to have talked themselves into a crisis and the messaging is garbled.
Those on the outside looking in could be forgiven wondering who, exactly, is to blame for a season that has turned sour since the Premier League returned following its brief interregnum.
Is it Antonio Conte’s fault? Is it Daniel Levy’s fault? The players? All of them? None of them? It can be difficult to make out from the noise, at times.
Over the last three months, the news has become almost comically bad. Arsenal are pulling clear at the top of the Premier League. Christian Eriksen is already considerably closer to winning a Premier League winner’s medal than he ever was at White Hart Lane. Harry Kane is definitely leaving in the summer. Fabio Paratici is getting banned from football for 800 years. Spurs are going to sack Antonio Conte and make a surprise swoop for the services of the currently unattached Steve Bruce. At this stage, almost nothing could surprise you.
What is pretty much uncontestable is that over the last three months, form has fallen off a cliff. Going into a Monday evening trip to Fulham Spurs had played ten games since beating Everton on October 15, of which they won three, drew one, and lost six. They arrived at Craven Cottage clinging onto fifth place by their fingertips. Brighton were two points behind them but with a game in hand. Fulham would go above them if they beat them.
The nation licked its lips at the prospect of Doctor Tottenham delivering another dose of Vitamin Spurs to cheer up a nation still trying to weigh up whether it should heat itself or eat. This felt like a match that could go beyond being a mere banana skin and into the territory of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
And for 44 minutes there they were, the familiarly jittery and shapeless Spurs who’ve apparently replaced the team that started their season with seven wins and two draws in their first ten games.
Hugo Lloris, who it’s difficult to believe was playing in a World Cup final just a few weeks ago, spilled a shot. Passes ran astray and little of note was created in attacking positions. Heung Min Son was booked – and might well have been sent off – for a retaliatory boot planted into the ankle of Kenny Tete. So far, so…