For all of their hard work last season, the final month of the campaign felt like sour grapes to Tottenham Hotspur.
The title was realistically gone, but it didn’t sooth the sting once it was officially over. Not being able to secure a first Premier League finish ahead of bitter rivals Arsenal made matters worse, compounded with a humiliating 5-1 defeat at already relegated Newcastle United.
The stars of a fruitless title challenge went to Euro 2016 with a point to prove, and whilst the likes of Danny Rose, Kyle Walker and Eric Dier impressed, they were overshadowed by the misuse of Harry Kane and Dele Alli.
The outsiders and doubters had already written off Tottenham before these players were even back from their holidays, stating the signings of Victor Wanyama and Vincent Janssen weren’t good enough.
That’s the thing with Spurs under Mauricio Pochettino; unless you’re invested in the club, you won’t understand the decisions made. Wanyama and Janssen add great depth to a thin squad, and you can’t really pinpoint a place in the starting eleven which needs upgrading.
Tottenham went to Oslo to take on Inter Milan in their final pre-season friendly. The Lilywhites suffered two narrow defeats in Australia against Juventus and Atletico Madrid, albeit without those who went to the European Championships.
However, it was as if the past few months never occurred.
Spurs strolled past their Italian opposition in a thumping 6-1 win, dominating Inter in every area imaginable. Bar a ten-minute spell in the first-half where the Nerazzurri grabbed their consolation goal, victory never looked uncertain for Pochettino’s men.
They looked like the well oiled machine that pushed Leicester City all the way, from back to front. Toby Alderweireld didn’t give danger man Mauro Icardi a sniff, and his distribution was equally as good.
Erik Lamela made great strides to becoming a game changer and not just an already important cog, running the game from wide and bagging a spectacular goal too. Kane seemed unfazed by summer-long criticism, first converting a penalty and then lashing a shot past Samir Handanovic to seal a brace.
Janssen, Harry Winks and Cameron Carter-Vickers all impressed too, though there were a few concerns.
The most obvious is that Ryan Mason simply isn’t good enough to start for Tottenham Hotspur anymore. Pochettino’s side have grown out of his style, and will be desperate for Mousa Dembele’s four match suspension to end.
Alli also needs to pace himself. When he’s given time to think on the ball, he usually loses it. On the contrary, when he’s under pressure, he usually delivers a moment of magic, whether it be a nutmeg or a goal.
Six-one is quite the scoreline, even if the match itself wasn’t a competitive one. The manner of the victory also showed that, for all of Roy Hodgson and Marc Wilmots’ tinkering, the main core still know how to do their job at club level.
It’s breathed a fresh optimism into the Spurs fanbase, a belief that we can build on last season’s title challenge. With a Wembley ticket allocation almost already sold out, the final year at White Hart Lane could be one of the most special.
Roll on Saturday!