In what could become the most quoted half-time interview in Tottenham's history the club's Norwegian former goalkeeper Erik Thorstvedt summed up Spurs' sale of Gareth Bale and purchase of a slew of top performers in his place by telling the White Hart Lane crowd that "we have sold Elvis but bought The Beatles". André Villas-Boas approved of the analogy – "very creative, it sounds good," said the manager with a grin – and it may well transpire to be true.
But this victory over decidedly wooden Norwegian opponents suggested that Spurs' new combo have not yet got fully into their groove. That is hardly surprising given the extent of the side's summer revamp and the weakest side they are likely to face all season did little to force the best out of the hosts.
Tromso can boast of being the northernmost top-flight club in the world thanks to the city's location more than 200 miles north of the Arctic circle but their chances of winning at White Hart Lane were similarly remote. In terms of pedigree these clubs are poles apart.
While Tottenham gave a first start to their £30m record signing, Erik Lamela, the Norwegians' most extravagant recruits are the unheralded Czech striker Zdenek Ondrasek and a 20-year-old Welsh midfielder on loan from Fulham, Josh Pritchard. Tromso's home may lie in the heart of the Aurora Borealis zone but the locals here were expecting them to be dazzled by the Premier League luminaries.
Sure enough, Tottenham monopolised possession from the start and sealed the three points before half-time. Jermain Defoe, who scored twice in his last outing in this competition, added another pair of goals as he continues to try to emerge from the shadow of the club's first-choice striker, Roberto Soldado.
Defoe squandered a chance in the 13th minute, when he shot straight at the goalkeeper, Marcus Sahlman, after a neat pass by Lewis Holtby but he soon atoned for that, producing a delicious finish in the 21st minute after a cute first-time pass from Lamela. That assist was the most eye-catching of several sumptuous touches by the Argentinian in the first period but in the second he faded from the game, failing to get involved from his berth on the right-hand side of midfield.
The second-half decline was not confined to Lamela. Holtby, who had provided another astute ball to enable Defoe to plunder his second goal in the 29th minute, began to misdirect his passes.
One of the tasks of the players entrusted with a start was to ridicule any notion that Tottenham are already over-reliant for creativity on Christian Eriksen, who thrilled on his debut against Norwich City at the weekend. As the players struggled to come up with convincing evidence, Villas-Boas introduced the Dane from the bench in the last half an hour. Eriksen duly sealed the win with the classiest action of the game, curling a delightful 20-yard shot over Sahlman and into the top corner.
"It was a really well-taken goal," said Villas-Boas, who is delighted with another strong impact by the 21-year-old. "He really helped us keep possession and he also has that finishing touch."
As for Defoe, the manager intimated that the player's feat against the lesser lights of the Europa League have not been enough to convince him to alter a formation and personnel that he believes has served Spurs well so far.
"At the moment we are playing with one striker up front and a No10 and we've scored 15 goals in seven games and conceded one, which are good numbers for us, so we haven't yet seen a reason to change to 4-4-2," said Villas-Boas. "But that is definitely an option for the future. JD and Soldado are competing with each other and all of their performances have been excellent. There is not one single thing I can say negative about them."
Tottenham finished the match with 10 men as, after all three of their substitutions had been made, Younès Kaboul walked off to avoid damaging a thigh that felt tight. Villas-Boas said that the centre-back and Mousa Dembélé, who also departed early to nurse a slight injury, should be fit to face Cardiff City on Sunday. But Danny Rose, who hurt his ankle in the first half, risks missing it. "We will have to see the reaction overnight," said the manager.