On the ropes and lurching from Dier to dire…so how ironic a man called Alli found the punch that rescued Spurs.
Only once since Boxing Day had Dele Alli found the net. And after the heartbreak of Wednesday’s FA Cup shoot-out loss, they are hardy the world’s bankers from the spot.
But one thing Dele has never been short of is self belief – so when the chance to save the day arose, he pounced to take the penalty which saved them from a fifth loss on the run.
Who knows, it could be the goal which helps turn their season around as well. It certainly could do as much for his.
Only once since Boxing Day had the one-time England wonder boy found the net, and frankly he has toiled at times.
Yet when Ben Mee clipped Erik Lamela’s heel an inch or so inside the box, there was never a doubt as he buried his spot kick right in the corner.
How Spurs could have done with him still being on the pitch when that fifth round tie with Norwich went to a shoot-out, rather than being hooked in extra time.
Mind you, even that Cup defeat had almost played second fiddle to the subsequent shenanigans of Eric Dier’s venture into the crowd to front up that fan abusing his brother.
Dier was back at the heart of the defence last night, as well. Needless to say the Burnley fans didn’t miss their chance to dish out some flak of their own in his sibling’s direction.
Did it affect him? Who knows, but he was hardly the rock solid centre back Spurs were looking for in a first half when Burnley could well have been out of sight.
Mourinho had suggested after the Cup exit that he would ask the board whether they wanted him to prioritise this or Tuesday’s Euro retrieval mission in Leipzig.
Well the way they went about the opening half an hour or so at Turf Moor, it was as though he’d been told “keep us in the Champions League Jose.”
As metaphorical and mythical as that conversation with those in Tottenham’s Ivory Towers may have been, they certainly played like it here.
Burnley were dominant, Spurs were despondent. Second to every ball, struggling to string a run of passes together when they had it, they just weren’t at the races.
And they had already survived two huge scares by the time the Clarets did take the most justified of leads.
Jay Rodriguez had grazed the top of the bar with a header from Ashley Westwood’s magnificent curling corner.
Then Chris Wood had sent a rasping, rising first timer a foot over the top after Dier could only shuffle Dwight McNeill’s cross to the edge of the box with his thighs.
Dier was at the heart of a three-man defence which spent most of the half as a five-man one, such was that story of the game.
And he was at the heart of things again when Sean Dyche’s men did go in front on 13 minutes.
Admittedly there was a suspicion of handball when McNeill’s first attempt to cross thumped back at him off Davinson Sanchez, even if it would have been a harsh call.
When the second delivery came in, Dier headed away – but only to Jay Rodriguez, who returned it with a thundering volley.
There was certainly plenty of power in the strike, but Hugo Lloris should have done far better than spill it at the feet of Wood, who jabbed the return into the corner.
Lloris then had to go full length to keep out a McNeill free kick, although his acrobatics were as much a for-the-cameras stop as a degree of difficulty one.
Mind, he was nowhere to be seen when James Tarkowski nodded a Westwood free kick back across goal and Wood should have prodded in from in front, rather than a foot wide.
Tottenham had rarely needed a touch of magic from their managerial Merlin.
Trust Jose to deliver.
A double half-time substitution, on came Lucas Moura and Giovani Lo Celso, and suddenly they were a team showing spirit and fight…and an equaliser within three minutes.
Lo Celso was the provider, with a slide rule ball into space down the right, which Lamela raced onto, and then went tumbling.
It was a spot kick for certain, and up stepped Alli to bang in his 50th Premier League goal – even if he’d been waiting what seemed an aged after number 49.
All of a sudden it was a different contest. Spurs were lively, they were dangerous and they even had the sniff of success.
And that’s not something they’ve smelled since the last-gasp victory at Aston Villa in mid-February.
It still needed a smart point blank stop from Lloris to deny Matej Vydra – and make amends for his earlier blunder – or it could have all gone belly up.
And with Spurs still having a casualty list to fill a hospital ward, whether it does prove a season-swinger is up for debate.
But after the chaos and criticism of the last few days, it will certainly do for now.