THIS was certainly no collapse under pressure.
But Antonio Conte will know a narrow defeat in the San Siro cauldron leaves his patched-up side feeling the heat when Milan come to North London next month.
The Italian had spoken before the game of his players’ capacity to wilt when it really matters – “to collapse under pressure”, as he put it – when explaining Tottenham’s topsy-turvy season.
It was a big fear going into this last-16 clash as Spurs were without their first-choice goalkeeper and forced to play two rookies in midfield due to injury and suspension.
Things looked ominous when former Manchester City kid Brahim Diaz opened the scoring with only seven minutes on the clock.
Yet Spurs rallied, with Oliver Skipp, 22, and Pape Matar Sarr, 20, performing admirably in the centre of the park despite having just seven starts between them this season.
The young pair had to be called upon with Rodrigo Bentancur and Yves Bissouma both long-term absentees, while Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was banned.
There were some rocky moments late on as Milan wasted two golden opportunities.
But going into half-time in this tie more than a goal down would have been harsh on balance, even if Spurs created little.
Conte had revealed in the build-up that he had defied doctor advice to rest for 15 days after gallbladder surgery so he could be back with his team.
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That time period would have elapsed until Wednesday, but the stubborn Italian already came back for the 4-1 mauling to Leicester on Saturday.
He faced the media for the first time on the eve of this game, looking a bit pale and moving gingerly, talking of his side’s own fragility when under the cosh.
Tottenham have made some unforgettable memories from this glorious, antiquated stadium.
Gareth Bale announced himself on the world stage here with that Maicon-shaming, rip-roaring hat-trick against Inter Milan in October 2010.
Four months later, Peter Crouch fired home a late winner against AC Milan, also at the last-16 stage, in a fiery encounter famous for Gennaro Gattuso squaring up to Joe Jordan.
That was 12 years ago tomorrow when the Rossoneri fielded a team that included Thiago Silva, Alessandro Nesta, Robinho and a 29-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Milan may have lifted the Serie A title last season under Stefano Pioli but it is safe to say their team, on paper at least, is not a patch on that one from 2011.
Deafening boos rang out as Conte’s name was read over the loudspeaker ahead of kick-off because of his history in charge of arch-rivals Inter.
Portuguese striker Rafael Leao was always likely to be one of Milan’s biggest threats, and Spurs targeted him early with hefty challenges from Emerson Royal and Dejan Kulusevski.
But with just seven minutes on the clock, the visitors fell behind with World Cup winner Cristian Romero at fault.
The Argentine, usually so tough in the tackle, failed to win a 50-50 on the right-hand side of the box with Theo Hernandez, allowing the Frenchman to crash a shot across goal.
Fraser Forster, deputising for the injured Hugo Lloris, made a decent stop but his parry went straight to Diaz.
The Real Madrid loanee’s initial effort was pushed up into the air by Forster, but Diaz followed up by heading it over the line to send the Curva Sud Stand potty.
After that, it was a fairly scrappy first period, punctuated with stoppages for various players to receive treatment.
Two of those were Simon Kjaer and Harry Kane, who had a bit of a running battle throughout the first 45.
Kjaer was sent sprawling when taken out by Kane in mid-air, but got him back by catching the England man with an elbow and then a late challenge on his ankle.
Sarr and Skipp certainly did not look overawed in midfield and recycled the ball tidily.
At one point Senegalese youngster Sarr, making his Champions League debut, stole the ball brilliantly to set up Royal for a long-ranger fired down keeper Ciprian Tatarusanu’s throat.
But neither team looked in great nick, which was unsurprising given their patchy form.
Spurs’ Jekyll-and-Hyde nature has frustrated Conte and fans no end – but Milan had not won in seven games before the weekend’s narrow victory over Torino.
Romero picked up his customary yellow card by sending Sandro Tonali flying with a rash tackle at the start of the second half.
While Milan missed two gilt-edged chances within a minute of each other late on.
Both were headers, the first coming from sub Charles De Ketelaere as he somehow planted Olivier Giroud’s nodded pass wide.
Then centre-back Malick Thiaw somehow planted the ball the wrong side of the post from close range.
It was hardly a result to crow about.
But given how things have conspired against Spurs of late – coupled with the up-and-down form anyway – it was certainly not a disaster as his makeshift midfield stood tall to the end.