Richard Buxton: Can Mourinho's Spurs match Class of ’81? Dream on
Comparing Lo Celso and Lamela to club legends Ardiles and Villa is pointless
Tottenham Hotspur are again daring to believe in a return to their glory days.
But it is memories of a distant past, rather than last season, which stir the soul, after their 2-1 win over Middlesbrough in yesterday morning's (Singapore time) FA Cup third-round replay.
With two Argentines on the scoresheet, the omens appear promising for the Lilywhites to repeat their memorable 1981 run in the world's most famous club cup competition.
Jose Mourinho could not stop waxing lyrical about how his teenage years were spent, starry-eyed, watching the exploits of Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricardo Villa on television, and how their compatriots Erik Lamela and Giovani Lo Celso had turned back the clock with a display that would have made their predecessors proud.
They really are living in dreamland at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Spurs may be on their way into the next round, but Wembley is likely to prove a step too far.
If they do somehow emulate their finest hour in the tournament and face Manchester City in this season's showpiece, the holders will send them crashing back to earth.
No matter how long they hang around in north London, goalscorers Lamela and Lo Celso will never be able to replicate Villa and Ardiles' formidable five-year partnership, let alone enjoy the full decade in the spotlight that the latter enjoyed in his own right.
Rarely has Lamela shown even flashes of the shimmying brilliance which allowed Spurs to double their first-half advantage after 15 minutes.
It came naturally against a team that sit two tiers beneath his own in the English football pyramid, but was often lacking against higher profile opposition.
Lo Celso, too, has flattered to deceive during his season-long loan spell. In that respect, he embodies last season's Champions League finalists and their start to life under Mourinho.
He was appointed the antidote to the listlessness which ended Mauricio Pochettino's reign.
Winning games, let alone silverware, had become a near-impossible task following five years on a largely upward trajectory.
SERIAL TROPHY COLLECTOR
A serial trophy collector was supposed to remedy that.
The more things change at Spurs, however, the more they stay the same.
Signs of Mourinho's notorious defensive nous are no closer to being realised.
His side have conceded at least one goal in their previous nine games in all competitions; a stat he previously achieved only during the ignominious end to his second Chelsea tenure.
Just days after being reduced to his knees by one of his own players against Liverpool, the Special One was left exasperated by another as Middlesbrough set up a needlessly nervy finale.
Davinson Sanchez was one of the few to emerge with any real credit from the half-hearted attempt at pragmatism against the runaway English Premier League leaders.
But he firmly undermined it in a follow-up where he may as well have been wearing a sandwich board over his Spurs kit.
The Colombia international gave away the ball more times than a shop going out of business.
Had the visitors not themselves been so charitable in the opening stages to afford Mourinho's side a two-goal head-start, Sanchez might have found himself firmly in the firing line.
Should Christian Eriksen's departure from Tottenham to Inter Milan be just a matter of days away, his teammates should consider investing in a special leaving gift for sparing him further post-match scrutiny.
Prolonged goodbyes have become a recurring theme in the playmaker's protracted exit strategy.
He has now attempted to bid farewell to N17 twice in the space of half a week.
If they do not improve their performances, Spurs can say goodbye to their trophy dreams.