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Tottenham need forward momentum to make passing from the back work | Barney Ronay

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Mauricio Pochettino needs to remember the key purpose of the Fannying About Theory – to hurt opponents further up the pitch

There was an unusual moment in the first half at San Siro on Tuesday night. With the score 0-0, the sky still deep blue above the stand, the game still to take its decisive shape, Mousa Dembélé burst the ball. Radja Nainggolan will claim an assist on this. Both men went into a slide tackle with full force. As they made contact simultaneously there was a deep booming noise, like the sound of a major world war two ammunition dump exploding 50 miles away.

For what it’s worth Dembélé just about won the ball, albeit at the expense of the ball’s good health. Nainggolan punted it off the pitch with a look of distaste. The game rushed on. And looking back on Tottenham’s oddly mannered defeat it seemed like a reminder of this team’s best qualities of the past two seasons.

Related: Tottenham’s Érik Lamela: we need to be ruthless and ease burden on Harry Kane

Related: Mauricio Pochettino accuses reporters of disrespect after Inter’s late show

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