This is still not Tottenham as we know them, but at least the slump has been stopped. José Mourinho has never lost four games in a row before, let alone five, so he will have been pleased to see his side come back from a goal down and a shocking first-half performance to draw a line under the losing sequence, even if Burnley and their captain, Ben Mee, will be kicking themselves for letting their visitors back into the game.
Mee was guilty of an uncontrolled tackle at the start of the second half that gifted Spurs a penalty and gave them a route back into a game that they never seemed likely to find for themselves.
Burnley were so much on top in the first half, they were probably not too worried about the number of chances they missed, but the game changed when Spurs equalised and in the end a point apiece was a fair result.
While Burnley missed the chance to overtake Spurs in the table, they can still take credit for extending their unbeaten run in the league to seven matches.
Steven Bergwijn’s direct running for Spurs produced a chance in the opening minute for Érik Lamela, who overran the ball when it rolled free near the penalty spot just waiting to be struck. That proved to be a misleading indication of what was to come, however, for after Chris Wood had shot too high, Jay Rodriguez hit the bar from a corner and Jack Cork had brought a save from Hugo Lloris at the other end Burnley took an early lead. A headed clearance from a Dwight McNeil cross invited a rasping volley from Rodriguez on the edge of the Spurs penalty area, Lloris saved but could not hold, and Wood scored one of his more routine goals by reaching the loose ball first.
Eric Dier, playing centrally in a three-man backline, had to endure some uncomplimentary chants about his brother in the first half but was otherwise unruffled. The visitors’ main problem was that Burnley were winning most of the midfield battles and using the ball more adventurously. Lamela did break away from James Tarkowski to bring a comfortable save from Nick Pope after half an hour but it was just about the only attempt on goal Spurs had produced up to that point. Dele Alli was notionally playing in an advanced position yet had to keep dropping back in search of the ball, and while Jan Vertonghen is obviously only an emergency wing-back, his crossing, in particular, was ponderous and predictable.
Ashley Westwood volleyed wide as Burnley continued to press, before Wood went close to a second just before the interval. The tall striker was in position to meet Tarkowski’s knock-down from a Westwood free kick but was unable to keep his shot on target when the ball reached him in front of goal. With Phil Bardsley ending the half volleying too high with an optimistic attempt Spurs could only be grateful their hosts had failed to make their first-half superiority fully count.
Mourinho sent on Lucas Moura and Giovani Lo Celso for the second half, which had barely got under way when Spurs found their luck had changed. A neat Lo Celso pass invited Lamela to break into the Burnley area, so perhaps that part of the equaliser was down to Mourinho’s substitutions, though Mee’s challenge was needlessly reckless, missing the ball and catching Lamela’s foot. There were no Burnley complaints; it was a clear penalty, even if the actual contact could only have been in the area by an inch or two. Mee has a habit of leaping into tackles and looked as if he knew he had miscalculated as soon as Lamela went down. Alli confidently sent Pope the wrong way from the spot and Tottenham perked up as if their afternoon had just started.
Suddenly it was Burnley being pushed back in their own half as Spurs passed and moved with a crispness that had been lacking in the first half. Alli and Moura combined to go close midway through the half, before Burnley’s first notable attacking threat since the break was snuffed out by man of the moment Dier, getting back just in time to take the ball of Matej Vydra’s toes when the substitute was about to shoot. Vydra was involved again in the closing minutes when Lloris kept him out from close range, before Alli hit the side netting at the other end after a deflection. If it was not quite a performance to put Spurs supporters in good heart for the trip to Leipzig on Tuesday, at least it was not another defeat.