Gus Poyet described the clash against Manchester City as a 'true cup tie' and praised the level of performance in the first half an hour.
Of course, in that time the boys went into a 2-0 lead with goals from Darren Anderton and Helder Postiga, providing a platform for the eventual 3-1 win. Middlesbrough now await in the Carling Cup quarter-finals.
"It was a true cup tie," he reflected later, adding that Postiga's first goal for the club was a welcome boost. "I think we played for 25 to 30 minutes of the first half at a very good level.
"Postie scored his goal and that is very important for him and Tottenham. It gave us all a lift.
"Later on we got a bit tired because of the pace, it was possibly a bit high in the first half an hour. We defended really well though and they didn't really have any great chances apart from the accident - after that it was a little bit difficult."
The 'accident' Gus refers to was the mishap between Gary Doherty and Kasey Keller that led to Robbie Fowler reducing the deficit 11 minutes from time before Fredi Kanoute settled the nerves with a goal on his return in stoppage time. The midfielder has always insisted that such incidents occur in many games and have to be dealt with.
"Of course, I'm saying you have to be ready for everything and sometimes accidents happen in the game and you don't expect it. You have to be ready to cope with it.
"I think we blocked a few shots at the end that were very important and, after that, we had a player called Kanoute who is always there in the right place. It is good to see him back."