Stop kicking the dog and move away from the panic button. Now! We could have gone top if only for an hour or so and we missed our opportunity to do so. But we dominated the game and lost to the only chance they had in the second half. A performance in the classic Tottenham mode then: stylish at times, lethargic at times, enough chances to win easily and enough bad luck with injuries and goal line saves to last us until Xmas and beyond. If you don't appreciate this sort of scenario then I'm afraid you are supporting the wrong team.
We were short of pace in midfield until Jenas came on to unsettle a solid and determined Stoke defence and had too little movement in the box to open them up properly. 'Solid and determined' covers a wide range of qualities: 'ruthless', 'crude', 'over physical', and 'dirty' included but this was Stoke and we knew what we would get and we got it. Kranjcar, Palacios and Keane played well within themselves and we lacked any real sense of urgency.
Although we dominated the play our build up was too slow. The injury to Woodgate, concussed making a brave last ditch save from their only chance in the first half made little difference as Dawson stepped up well as usual. But when Lennon was injured in the closing stages we had already used up all our subs: Dawson for Woodgate; Jenas for Hudddlestone, and Pavlyuchenko for Keane.
If you don't like Jenas then he was rubbish but in fact he injected some much needed incisiveness into the midfield and since returning from injury he has played very well. We were sound at the back, though Ekotto was muscled off the ball for their goal; competent but one-paced in midfield and lacked invention in the final third. Stoke came for a point and nicked all three. Lennon, Crouch(twice), Keane and Kranjcar all went close or had attempts well saved and it should have been all over by half time.
Ten games in and we are still third but Man.City and Arsenal could go above us if they win today. I am disappointed, a tiny bit disheartened, but more than anything annoyed that we failed to make our superiority tell in a performance a little reminiscent of Spurs before the Harry revolution. I'm hoping that Lennon's injury is not too serious. He was our liveliest player yesterday and without him, Modric and Defoe we look a little short of attacking inventiveness.
Suddenly the Tottenham Tour Bus (2009/2010) has plenty of seats as quite a few, including Lady Luck, got off at the stop for faint hearts, the interchange for 'same old, same old' and for those that only bought the fair-weather and bandwagon tickets. Last week excited travellers were jostling for seats and even sitting on each other's laps. Its no surprise that the bus has seat belts and crash helmets.
Those of us aboard for the long haul realise that even the most scenic of views can be ruined by the sudden descent of mists and fog, the odd lightening strike and that tomorrow the sun will shine. But I always carry an umbrella just in case.
We will lose some games that we should have won and win some games that we might have lost. Coincidentally we have gathered exactly the same number of points from the equivalent eight games last year as we have this year. This does not include Burnley and Birmingham as they are newly promoted. If I were a statistician I would probably be able draw some conclusions from this.
Fortunately our bus driver does a fair impression of Michael Winner and today's motto is 'Calm down dear'. Or as Harry himself put it, 'It was just one of those days'. Next stop Ashburton Grove via the Carling Cup.