The Richarlison scowl remained firmly fixed even after a cuddle from James Maddison and a shove in the back from Son Heung-min as encouragement to lead Tottenham’s post-match celebrations before the South Stand.
It was, at the very least, a happy end to a tough week for Tottenham’s No9. Perhaps only light relief after a difficult year when goals proved scarce and people he trusted let him down.
His late rescue operation against Sheffield United, however, was a reminder of his strengths. He is committed and willing. Mobile and physical. Decent in the air with an ability to bring in others.
And his most influential contribution in a Spurs shirt since two goals against Marseille more than a year ago will nourish his confidence and self-esteem.
‘He changed the whole game,’ said captain Son. ‘That’s what we were waiting for. Nobody is happy when not in the starting XI but we know how important it is to come on and change the game.
‘Everyone is very happy for him. I was very, very happy. Probably more happy than him. We need him. He has really good quality but the confidence is massively different. I just wanted to give him the big hug he deserved.’
There are clearly other matters for Richarlison to tackle. Probably matters not as simple as heading in a corner for an equaliser in the eighth minute of added time or sliding a pass into the feet of Dejan Kulusevski to score the winner two minutes later. But it will be easier with a mind clear of the pressure of his £60million price tag or delivering the goals to replace Harry Kane.
Under Ange Postecoglou, it feels like a warmer, more inclusive, less oppressive environment at Spurs. Maybe that makes life easier for a player so open with emotions.
At the same time, it will not escape theRead on m.allfootballapp.com