Saturday was a huge chance for this highly acclaimed Tottenham team to move a step closer to winning their first trophy under Mauricio Pochettino, in what was effectively a home FA Cup Semi-Final.
It looked bright early on as they took an 11th-minute lead through Dele Alli and put pressure on a shaky Manchester United rearguard – but that is all they did. Perhaps that is the problem with this team, all pressure but no end product when it really matters.
United roared back into contention when Paul Pogba punished a dawdling Mousa Dembele and delivered a fine cross for Alexis Sanchez to head in the equalizer.
From that point on, Jose Mourinho’s side grew into the game. Tottenham, as they always seem to do, wilted.
Despite having less of the ball, it was no surprise when Ander Herrera rifled United into a 2-1 lead. Spurs froze and failed to test David de Gea as they were suffocated by a compact United side and their own mentality.
Spurs are a better footballing team than United, they are nicer to watch and Pochettino has done an admirable job but that does not win you any trophies.
However, resilience, courage and grit are also needed. This Man United team may not be easy on the eye but they have the above in abundance. Mourinho and co know how to win trophies. Pochettino’s men do not.
The mentally stronger usually comes out on top in these games. That evidently proved to be the case at Wembley at 7 pm.
It is just two League Cups in 27 years for Tottenham, and it feels as if time is beginning to slip away for this talented crop of players to make that statistic look more respectable.
Kyle Walker departed last summer to become a Premier League winner with Manchester City. This summer, Toby Alderweireld appears to be on the way out, while Mousa Dembele has also been linked with a departure.
How long is it before the likes of Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen start agitating for moves as they see their careers dwindling on? One more season? Two at the most.
Pochettinoplayed down the importance of winning the FA Cup compared to a Premier League title or Champions League. Those biggest prizes look destined to be beyond them but winning a League Cup or FA Cup can grow the foundations and create a winning mentality for bigger prizes.
Just ask Jose Mourinho.
This is a golden Tottenham team in one way, with the football they play and enjoying regular Champions League football, but ultimately great teams are judged on silverware. This team has none.
Who will remember in 20 years the Tottenham team who played nice football and made top four?
The clock is ticking for that to be changed.