Well, at least Spurs can now concentrate fully on finishing fourth. The "goal that never was" in the FA Cup semi-final has been analyzed, dissected and examined ad nauseam, and it could certainly be argued that it was the turning point in the game. The final score, however, would seem to suggest that a Chelsea victory might well have been the eventual outcome, regardless of the latest glaring error committed by the hapless Martin Atkinson.
Although Spurs pulled a goal back and played well for a spell after they went two-nil down, the players eventually ran out of steam. This seems to have been a recurring theme in recent weeks. While Gallas was shocking against Chelsea and Ledley King's lack of pace was exposed once again, it remains hard to point to obvious reasons why the season has started to go pear-shaped. The notion that the "Harry for England" crusade is behind the downturn in fortunes has been scotched by management and players alike. The players generally appear to be putting in the requisite effort and there's no doubt that the team possesses ability and experience from back to front. And yet - something is missing.
Whatever that elusive ingredient is, it needs to be rediscovered and double quick. Harry Redknapp appears to have some thoughts about where the problem lies:
"I've got to find a team among that group who'll have the nerve, the will power and the desire to get that fourth spot now. We have to go to QPR next week for a tough game and show we can bounce back. It's important. It's a test of character now. They have to show some character."
Nerve. Will Power. Desire. Character. It sounds like a description of Scott Parker (nominated, incidentally, for the Player's Player of the Year award). The implication of Harry's statement, however, is that these qualities are not universally present - at least currently - throughout his squad. Gallas certainly needs an attitude check but it was ever thus in the case of this particular individual. In the same vein, Adebayor showed plenty of fervour at the final whistle against Chelsea, but rather less during the course of the game. Van der Vaart often looks like a wonderful player when Spurs are well on top and somewhat less so when their backs are against the wall. Assou-Ekotto once famously - or infamously - revealed in a newspaper interview that football is "only a job" and "not my passion". Beyond that, is it at all conceivable that the likes of Modric and Bale failed to produce a game-changing performance at Wembley because their heads have been turned by other clubs?
What is for sure is that it will be hard to hold on to these sorts of players if Spurs end the season without a trophy in the cabinet and facing the prospect of Europa League football next season. Five Premier League games to go. Five winnable games. That may well end up being exactly what is required.