A well-taken goal from Jonathan Woodgate - his first of the season in his 50th appearance for Spurs - sealed a vital three points against a poor Hull City team. Prior to this match at the KC Stadium, the home side had taken just three points from their last nine games and had clearly punched well above their weight during the opening weeks of the season.
They are now part of the pack trying to avoid relegation, with Spurs still very much in the same boat despite moving up to 14th in the table.
The league win came on the back of a UEFA Cup defeat at the hands of Shakhtar Donetsk and it's hard to question Harry Redknapp's tactic of playing a second-string team against the Ukrainians. At 2-0 down from that first leg, it is probable that Spurs will not be progressing in the competition, especially given that the manager has already outlined his team selection for the return meeting at White Hart Lane:
"I gave one 17-year-old his debut and might have four 17-year-olds next week. When we play the second leg it will only be half as strong as this side. If someone can tell me how to find a team the Thursday before a cup final then I'd like to know. It's a crazy schedule, six games in 17 days and all big games."
The cup final in question is Sunday's Carling Cup showdown with Man Utd and this is not a game that will be thrown away. Even more important, however, is to ensure that Spurs do not end up plotting a European campaign from the Championship. The final at Wembley is followed by considerably less glamorous but arguably no less important encounters with Middlesbrough and Sunderland. Since Spurs' run-in entails facing five of the top six (with four of the games away from home), these next two Premier League fixtures are truly "six-pointers".
There were enough positives against Hull, especially in the second half, to suggest that Spurs can drag themselves clear. Modric and Lennon were bright in midfield, and while Palacios shed blood for the cause metaphorically, the ever-combative Woodgate did so literally. Robbie Keane looks very out of sorts but undoubtedly this is an issue of form rather than attitude.
There remain, however, players whose commitment looks suspect. On the field against Hull, fingers would be pointed at Jenas and Bent in particular, and the question to be asked at this crunch time is "if not now, when"? If neither player walks out at Wembley, few among the Spurs fans will share their disappointment.
Amazingly, given the cup traditions of both clubs, Spurs have never faced Man Utd in a final. The champions are certainly daunting opponents and will want to secure the first part of what could be a quadruple haul of trophies this season. Spurs will be underdogs, and relegation anxieties will be put to one side - at least momentarily. Retaining the Carling Cup would provide the perfect tonic for the fight to stay in the Premier League.