Jose Mourinho's relieved celebrations said it all as it took Tottenham Hotspur until four minutes before time to end the stirring resistance of Wycombe. The Tottenham coach rushed from the dug-out as goals from Harry Winks and Tanguy Ndombele - just 72 seconds apart - finally earned an FA Cup fifth-round tie away to Everton.
Until then, and despite Spurs' dominance, there was always the whiff of a possible upset, with Mourinho having to turn to his big guns to secure the victory. Ndombele capped it with a fourth goal in injury-time and by then Mourinho remained seated as the scoreline took a distorted gloss.
Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth, still wearing his trademark leather jacket despite the snow and falling temperature, had joked that as there had not been a cup upset over the weekend it was up to his team to provide one. And so they took the contest to Spurs - and they took the lead.
Midway through the first-half Uche Ikpeazu showed his strength to roll Toby Alderweireld just inside the Spurs penalty area before crossing low. The ball struck Davinson Sanchez, who was slow to react, with the rebound directed towards Fred Onyedinma. The striker steadied himself and side-footed into the net before Japhet Tanganga could block to give the advantage to the club who are bottom of the Championship and have not played for 16 days because of a Covid outbreak.
Spurs racked up chances. Twice they struck the goal-frame with, firstly, a shot from Moussa Sissoko taking a huge deflection off substitute Darius Charles, who replaced the injured Jacobson, to wrong-foot goalkeeper Ryan Allsop before striking the cross-bar - and rebounding into Allsop's hands. Then, after Harry Winks checked and crossed, Tanganga met the ball inside the six-yard area, only for Allsop to superbly tip his header on to the bar.
Four chances fell to Gareth Bale. He drew Spurs level in first-half injury time as he ghosted in to meet Moura's inswinging cross and guide the ball past Allsop from close-range with McCarthy playing him onside.
It said much that the Wycombe players left the pitch at half-time raging with frustration that they could not have held on for a few seconds longer.
And so Mourinho turned to more replacements as on came Son Heung-min and Ndombele before, at full-stretch, Harry Kane met Ben Davies' cross, with his touch allowing him to shoot goalwards with Allsop blocking and the ball being hooked away. Wycombe too made changes and the introduction of strikers Scott Kashket and, in particular, Adebayo Akinfenwa - now 38 - gave them fresh impetus, before Onyedinma almost wriggled past Sanchez.
It appeared Son would end their resistance when Sissoko ran on to Bale's lobbed pass forward to square to the forward, who steered his shot wastefully over. The profligacy continued with Ndombele miscuing across goal.
Finally, though, the breakthrough came with Ndombele picking out Kane, only for Allsop to smother from the England captain. However, the ball was only cleared to Winks on the edge of the area and he curled it into the net.
Spurs poured forward again, with Son threatening before he teed up Ndombele, who side-footed past Allsop to end any doubt. The Frenchman capped it with another strike, cutting back and beating the goalkeeper at his near post.
© Telegraph Media Group Limited, 2021
Telegraph Media Group Limited