Andre Villas-Boas had Hugo Lloris to thank as Spurs staged a superb fightback to sink Fulham.
Tottenham’s £12million keeper was proof that you really do get what you pay for.
And if the north Londoners – now sixth and back in business – do finish in the top four they will look back at the France number one’s heroics here as a turning point in their season.
Lloris was simply magnificent to prevent an upset marking Rene Meulensteen’s first game in charge.
The Dutchman’s decision to start Dimitar Berbatov – despite confirmation from his agent earlier in the day that he wanted out in January – looked inspired with the Bulgarian showing he was up for it from the start.
Thankfully for AVB, however, Lloris was up for it too. With the game goalless, the Spurs stopper produced a sensational low save in the 22nd minute to deny Berbatov when he seemed certain to score.
Lloris had no chance in the 57th minute when Berba played a sumptuous crossfield pass to find Ashkah Dejagah, who in turn put Fulham ahead.
At that point, with their tails up and with Tottenham labouring, Fulham looked favourites to frustrate their London rivals.
Victory for the struggling west Londoners would have piled the pressure back on AVB as Spurs had won just two of their previous nine games going into this contest.
But Lloris’s team-mates matched his refusal to come off second best to rescue victory from the jaws of defeat.
Defender Vlad Chiriches stepped up with a 35-yard drive on 73 minutes to leave Fulham keeper Maarten Stekelenburg with no chance.
Then Lewis Holtby, on for Etienne Capoue at half time, cut in from the right on 82 minutes and powered a screamer into the top corner.
Still Fulham would not lie down. Lloris, whose kicking sparked that 6-0 capitulation at Manchester City two weeks ago, showed why he is is so respected with another two more fine saves.
The first was an athletic leap low to his right to push a Berbatov attempt around the near post. The second, in the dying stages, was even better from Bryan Ruiz, who looked certain to find the roof of the net.
Villas-Boas said later: “That was fantastic for him. He needed a game like that for his confidence. It was a boost which can help him going forward.
“We bought him last year with the view to strengthening that position. He’s a top goalkeeper. He has great ambitions for the club and himself.”
“It was important for us to be in there among the top teams to take our challenge through. December and January are very important months in the Premier League.”
Meulensteen said: “Lloris produced some world class saves. It really was a fantastic performance.”
Fulham’s display was vastly improved after the shambles at West Ham that earned Martin Jol the sack on Saturday. But six League defeats in a row is still their worst-ever run in the top flight.
Meulensteen added: “It is very hard to take. Fulham is going through a tough time. Everybody knows that. But we won the fans back.
“Dimitar was unbelievable. Will I ask him to stay? The most important thing is we have to focus game by game. We’ve had some good chats. Dimitar is a player who really cares for this club. That was evident tonight.”