This was not a vintage Spurs display, in fact it was a poor one and only poor refereeing — decision making that left City’s Yaye Toure admitting he would like to smash his TV screen when watching replays — allowed them to salvage even a point.
But the fact Tottenham were able to do so, and were in a position to launch such a comeback, speaks to a steely resolve that traditionally has not been the preserve of Spurs sides.
Yes, kids, this is a very different Spurs team to the one your fathers grew up watching for, while there is still an abundance of skill and finesse in their ranks, there is also a gritty determination and backbone we have not always come to expect from their line-ups through the years.
“It was one of our worst performances of the season so to come away to City, play bad, go 2-0 down and come away with a point shows how far we’ve come,” said forward Harry Kane, one of a number of Spurs players to fall below their best.
“We were just off it today, off the pace. I don’t know why we played poorly. City came with a game plan to press, we were a bit slow on the ball, bit slow pressing and it was down to the players. No excuses from anyone.
“But we managed to ground out a result and get something from it which is always important.
“You can never play perfect in football and we got something from it.
“A few seasons ago, it probably would have gone 3-0. 4-0, and that would have been that.
“But we dug deep. We know it wasn’t a good performance and we dug deep and came away with something.”
Tottenham’s slow start was compounded by two dreadful, uncharacteristic errors by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris who gifted goals to Leroy Sane and Kevin De Bruyne although the Frenchman showed the same strength of character displayed by his team-mates in coming out and talking about his mistakes afterwards.
“The first one is a bit unlucky, the second one was a mistake, my personal mistake, and maybe (once) we would have given up. But not anymore.
“The last two or three seasons we’ve changed our mentality and we’ve shown it. Even on a bad day, it’s a great point.”
In truth, it should not have been a point. After City’s poor defending allowed Dele Alli to head in an opening Spurs goal, they conceded an equaliser to substitute Son Heung-min mere seconds after they were denied a clear penalty for a push by Kyle Walker on Raheem Sterling as he raced clear on goal.
In a world where managers and players alike scream injustice at every opportunity, there could be no doubt that, in this instance, a decision from Andre Marriner cost City two points.
“Something has to be done,” said a frustrated Toure. “When you see the highlights of the game, I think you’ll see it was harsh. It’s unfair sometimes. I’ll go home and watch the highlights and I’ll probably break the glass and be angry because we’ve lost two points like that.
“I think the ref doesn’t need to be involved sometimes. There isn’t a need to interfere. If he (referee) looks again he’ll see something was very wrong. It’s one point, we have to put our heads up and treat it as part of life and continue working.
“Have a look when the game is repeated. If he’d dived everyone would have been saying ‘it’s a dive’.
“If you have a bit of experience like me, you’d maybe dive in that situation and that’s maybe what you have to do.
“He’s too honest, he wants to be proper in these sort of games. If the lad’s like that, you can’t tell him he’s wrong, if that’s what he tries to do.
“When you see it, he can’t miss from there, he was so close and after that Walker pushes him in the back.”
Bravo 5; Zabaleta 6, Otamendi 6, Kolarov 6, Clichy 5 (Stones 84); Toure 7; Sterling 6 (Jesus 82), De Bruyne 9, Silva 8 (Delph 90), Sane 7; Aguero 6.
Lloris 4; Dier 6, Alderweireld 7 (Winks 65, 7), Wimmer 5 (Son 46, 7); Walker 7, Wanyama 6, Dembele 6 (Sissoko 78, 6), Rose 7; Eriksen 7; Alli 7; Kane 6.
A Marriner 5
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