After the weekend party, the midweek hangover. If Tottenham had still been flying high from their Etihad heroics, they were brought back down with a bump at Burnley.
Antonio Conte had hoped last Saturday’s thrilling 3-2 victory at Manchester City would prove to be a turning point in his side’s season, a chance for his players to prove they could become ruthless winners.
Instead, what he got was typical Tottenham, a dismal defeat against relegation strugglers which made you think that win against the Premier League leaders was merely a memorable one-off. Spursy? You bet.
Burnley beat Tottenham 1-0 at home on Wednesday night to move within two points off safety
Antonio Conte’s side suffered a huge setback in the race for top four as they remain eighth
Ben Mee beat Cristian Romero in the air to finally open the scoring after 71 minutes
Conte had said this week he wanted to see his side become angrier when they lose. He never intended for them to be putting his words into practise quite so soon.
The loss, to Ben Mee’s 71st-minute header, was their fourth in five Premier League games. It keeps them stranded in eighth, having now played the same number of games as seventh-placed Wolves, and one fewer than Arsenal in sixth.
But if this was a dreadful night Spurs, it was a famous one for Burnley, a second straight victory which has breathed real life into their survival bid.
They have climbed above Watford into 18th and are now only two points off fourth-bottom Newcastle, with one game in hand. Make no mistake, Dyche’s men are on the march.
Mee’s header sealed a second straight victory for Burnley, bolstering their survival bid
Antonio Conte had said this week he wanted to see his side become angrier when they lose
It was a wet and wild night at Turf Moor, the sort you sensed would have had Dyche licking his lips.
BURNLEY (4-4-2): Pope 7.5; Roberts 7, Tarkowski 8, MEE 8.5, Pieters 7; Lennon 7, Cork 7, Brownhill 7.5, McNeil 7.5; Rodriguez 6.5, Weghorst 7.5 (Barnes 89min).
Scorer: Mee 71.
Manager: Sean Dyche 7.5.
TOTTENHAM (3-4-3): Lloris 7; Romero 5.5, Dier 6.5, Davies 6; Emerson 6 (Moura 65, 6), Hojbjerg 6, Bentancur 5.5 (Winks 45, 6.5), Sessegnon 5.5 (Bergwijn 79); Kulusevski 6.5, Kane 6, Son 6.5.
Manager: Antonio Conte 6.5.
Referee: Graham Scott 7.
But the bleak conditions also offered Spurs an immediate chance to show they could be ‘nasty’, just as Conte had ordered in the build-up, when he told them to ‘feel the blood’ of their opponents.
Certainly, this was completely different test for Tottenham to their Etihad assignment, as Burnley launched an aerial bombardment in search of giant new striker Wout Weghorst.
With a drenched Conte bellowing on from the sidelines, Hugo Lloris and his defenders actually dealt well with the early Burnley barrage.
Yet their forwards were unable to get any sort of foothold on the game. All eyes, as ever, were on Harry Kane, having come into this one off the back of his two-goal heroics against Pep Guardiola’s Premier League leaders.
Despite hurting his back at the Etihad, Conte had joked his main man would play at Turf Moor even if he had ‘one leg’.
And Kane, in front of watching England boss Gareth Southgate, would certainly have fancied his chances against a side he had netted seven times against in his past six meetings with them.
Earlier this week, Kane spoke of his aim of breaking Alan Shearer’s Premier League goal record. He and Son Heung-Min also needed to provide one more goal for each other to go past the record for combinations set by Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard.
But Spurs’ deadly duo were not offered any sort of sniff in a first half which elicited just one shot on target – a harmless volley from Burnley’s Josh Brownhill.
Of course, it only takes a moment for Tottenham’s big two to switch into gear. And immediately after the break, Son swung in a free-kick from the right which found Kane, who headed against the bar.
Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and his defenders had dealt well with Burnley’s early barrage
Harry Kane (left) came into the game off the back of his two-goal heroics against Man City
Kane and Son Heung-Min needed to provide one more goal for each other to go past the record for combinations
Whatever Conte had said to his charges at half-time seemed to have had an impact, with Kane in particular looking much more lively and dragging another shot wide from outside the area.
Then, after some pinball in the box, Ben Davies also saw a close-range shot stopped by the chest of Pope.
Next it was Mee who came to Burnley’s rescue, getting his head in the way of a goalbound shot from Dejan Kulusevski, who then bent another effort just wide after being played through by Son.
Dejan Kulusevski bent another effort just wide after being played through by Son
But for all Spurs had come to life, so had the Clarets’ frontline. Jay Rodriguez offered the visitors a warning with a header which forced a smart save from Lloris.
And then in the 71st minute, Brownhill launched a free-kick in from the right, with Mee climbing above Cristian Romero at the back post to head home.
Turf Moor was rocking and the hosts could even have had a second, with Rodriguez blazing over after Mee had played the ball across goal. In the end, they did not need the cushion, as Spurs surrendered meekly, cueing chants of ‘We are staying up’ from the jubilant home faithful at full-time.