Rose in bloom to lift the early gloom as Spurs close top-four gap
Tottenham 2 Burnley 1
Has any player improved more in 2016 than Danny Rose? He started the year fighting for his position with Ben Davies and is now ending it as comfortably the best left-back in England.
Yesterday afternoon at White Hart Lane he delivered his best performance for Spurs, tearing into Burnley and winning the game with explosive power, with 19 minutes left.
This win, their fourth in a row at home in the league, keeps Spurs fifth, one point behind Arsenal and Liverpool. Like their defeat of Hull City on Wednesday, it owed everything to Rose and Kyle Walker, the two full-backs who are currently Spurs' best two players.
If anyone else has improved as much this year as Rose then it is Walker, and the pair who sliced through Hull on Wednesday, playing as wing-backs, did the same to Burnley yesterday, playing in a four.
Walker was good and set up Dele Alli's equaliser, but Rose was even better. Spurs were just starting to get frustrated before his winner, as the minutes ticked away and Tottenham failed to make their dominance count. This was a very one-sided contest but one that was skewed by Ashley Barnes bundling Burnley ahead in the first half.
Before and after that goal it was all Tottenham, who dominated possession, peppered Tom Heaton with shots and, on another day, could have scored five or six.
Mauricio Pochettino bemoaned the fact that they did not kill the game in the first 15 minutes. Alli, Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen missed good chances before Spurs dropped their tempo and were punished by conceding a sloppy goal.
That goal could have thrown Spurs' focus but to their credit they continued to come at Burnley until they finally scored. Walker, in nearly as good form as Rose himself, drove down the right and crossed low. Burnley failed to wake up and Alli was free to tap in.
Having equalised before the interval, the atmosphere for the second half was positive as Eriksen forced Heaton into two more saves.
But Spurs needed something more which was why Pochettino turned to Moussa Sissoko. His first meaningful action was a high, late tackle on Stephen Ward. Sean Dyche said that it was "impossible" that he was booked, rather than sent off.
Sissoko's second serious action, to Dyche's disbelief, was to storm down the pitch on the counter-attack and lay the ball to his left to Rose.
Taking a touch, Rose thumped the ball so hard at the near post that Heaton could not get anywhere near it. It was a goal Rose deserved for his tireless work all afternoon, and a lead Spurs deserved for being by far the better team.