It’s difficult to shed what amounts to a long-standing opinion of a football club’s mentality. Tottenham Hotspur certainly knows about that. The word “Spursy” has attached itself to the club’s ethos in the media and even among Tottenham fans, but the meaning has changed over time.
Where once “Spursy” referred to extreme turns of fortune that snatched defeat from the jaws of victory — think “dodgy lasagna” — as Spurs have gotten better and had a more sustained period of success on the pitch the goalposts have been moved. Now, it seems, “being Spursy” can mean simply losing to a very good Wolves team after five consecutive victories.
Harry Winks was asked about “being Spursy” in the wake of Tottenham’s loss to Wolves on Saturday, and while he admitted that the team was very upset by the loss, he suggested that the club’s reputation among some members of the media and football fandom do not affect the players whatsoever. They know exactly what kind of stuff this Spurs side is made of.
“We said before the game that it was must-win, so to come away with a defeat... everyone is fuming.
“Listen, when people say that on social media, that is their own opinion, they are entitled to that. But inside the club we know how good we are, we know how far we can go, we have belief, regardless of the result.
“I have to be careful about this. We are doing really well. We have had one defeat since Arsenal away. We are doing so well. We have had some fantastic results in the Champions League and the Premier League and it is important to remember how well we are doing and we don’t get carried away with a defeat.”
He’s not wrong. As frustrating as the loss to Wolves was, what was more frustrating were the predictable media and fan reactions to the loss, which came just after Spurs moved into second place behind Liverpool and were declared “title contenders.” The reality is that this was Spurs’ first loss since the 4-2 loss at the Emirates on December 2, and they had won five straight league matches before Saturday. Wolves are a very good team, and while it’s tempting to fall into the easy narrative of Spurs being “Spursy,” the reality is that Tottenham were a tired team that lost to a good Wolves side that has now taken points from Spurs, Chelsea, Arsenal, City, and United this season.
For his sake, Winksy chose to take a more positive angle. For him, the club’s reaction just shows their belief that this is a club that can do big things and can win silverware this season.
“It shows how well we are doing this year to be considered title contenders and to be sitting here disappointed that we aren’t closer to the top than we’d expect, it just shows us how far we have come and how well we are doing.
“We have high expectations ourselves and if we don’t come away with a win against Wolves at home we get frustrated at that. It just shows how high our standards are set at the moment and how ambitious we are.”
Tottenham may be title challengers, or they may not be. There are still 18 matches left in this season, and much can happen between now and then. But it doesn’t really matter at this point. What Winks’ comments suggest is make clear that one loss does not define a season or a club, and that this Tottenham team’s ambitions will not be thwarted by one loss to a good team.