After a 2-0 defeat at Liverpool last season – a loss which meant that Tottenham's trips to other "big six" teams had gleaned just two points from a possible 15 – Mauricio Pochettino knew he had a problem.
“In the last three seasons,” said the Spurs manager, “we’ve won only once away to the top sides, which was against Man City.
“It’s the same old story. And after games like today’s, we’ve got to do some deep and honest soul-searching.”
Pochettino’s reflections are recounted in Brave New World, the diary-like account of Tottenham's’ campaign last season by Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague.
Earlier in the book, after another defeat at the home of a fellow Premier League heavyweight, Pochettino reveals Spurs's travails on the road to be a source of internal agonising at the club.
“The texts that I exchanged with the chairman tonight have been pretty heated, given the combination of frustration and disappointment,” he noted following a 1-0 loss at Old Trafford.
“We came up short in another big game. In fact, from this game onwards, I need things to happen.”
Yet almost exactly a year on from when he made those comments, little appears to have changed when Tottenham travel to face other top sides.
Spurs have already lost twice on the road this season. A 2-0 defeat at north London rivals Arsenal followed another 1-0 reverse at Manchester United.
As things stand, Spurs have got worse, not better.
They’ve taken only nine of a possible 51 points from away matches against the rest of the top six.
To potentially make matters worse, Pochettino’s men travel to the Etihad Stadium this weekend to face a Manchester City side in full swagger under Pep Guardiola.
Yet if there is one source of solace ahead of Saturday’s showdown, it’s that trips to City have been the most successful for Pochettino — even if they’ve still been far from fruitful.
A 2-1 win there in March 2016 remains Spurs’ only win from 17 games away at City, United, Liverpool or Arsenal in the three and a half years under their current boss.
Last season’s 2-2 draw means that they’ve taken four points from a possible nine at Etihad Stadium since Pochettino has been in charge.
In contrast, they’ve won just five points from a possible 42 in games at Liverpool, United, Chelsea and Arsenal.
At their north London neighbours Spurs have drawn three and lost one, at Liverpool and Chelsea they’ve drawn one and lost two, while at Old Trafford they’ve succumbed to four defeats.
Crystal Palace, Southampton, Swansea and West Ham all have a better record from the corresponding fixtures in the same time period, not to mention the other members of the big six.
After losing at Arsenal last month, Spurs endured three further league games without a win before putting consecutive victories together in the last week.
If Spurs are to maintain that feel-good factor and avoid a return to further soul-searching and angry text messages, a positive result on the road is due.