HARRY KANE claims that the days of Tottenham being underdogs against Manchester United are at an end.
Spurs completely outplayed United when they ended a four-year wait for a win at Old Trafford with a 3-0 victory in August.
The gritty win over Chelsea in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg was another feather in Mauricio Pochettino’s cap.
And his team will be fancied to beat United at Wembley today despite the visitors’ improvement under caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Striker Kane said: “We were always the ones going into these games as the underdog but over the past few years we have turned that around.
"Now with some of these games, we are going in as favourites, especially at home.
"United have an amazing history and have won so many titles, a lot more than Tottenham have.
"But what we have done as a team, with Mauricio and the staff, is to change the perception of Spurs over the last three or four years. We are at the stage now where we have a mature team. We are not young any more.
"It’s important we keep ourselves at this high level, at the top. I know that the teams around us know it’s difficult to play us and we have to use that to our advantage.
"When we are on good form, we can dominate any team in Europe, really.
"We’ve done it in the Champions League and we’ve done it against the big teams in certain games. But it’s about consistency."
Tottenham were pretty consistent in the past against United — just not in a good way.
But the truth hurts and Tottenham’s inferiority to United was felt not only in results.
Although chairman Daniel Levy fought tooth and nail to stop star players such as Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Carrick moving to Old Trafford, the transfers always seemed like a no-brainer for the players.
It’s not so clear cut these days. But the new problem for Levy is that United want his manager.
Kane was prevented by a member of the Spurs staff from answering a direct question about Pochettino and United.
But when asked whether the players followed what their manager said in public, Kane said: "Now and then. It’s hard not to.
"You see it on television and social media and stuff like that.
"We are fully behind the manager. We love the way he works.
"We’ve built a great team and a great unit over the last three or four years.
Head: Harry's eyes on Greaves' record
HARRY KANE has Jimmy Greaves’ all-time record in his sights after moving to fourth on Tottenham’s list of top scorers.
Kane’s penalty against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup took him ahead of Double-winning legend Cliff Jones, who had sent a message on Twitter when the England captain matched his tally of 159.
Kane said: "He mentioned something on social media which I replied to.
"He’s obviously a club legend, it’s great to have that praise from him — and other pros that have played for the club as well."
Martin Chivers is the next Spurs hero in Kane’s sights but he is still more than 100 goals behind Greaves.
So will the England striker be able to surpass Greavsie’s total of 266?
Kane smiled: “We’ll see. Hopefully. That would be nice.”
"It’s down to us to continue that and take another step forward if we can.
"And we must be consistent in these top games, these big games and these big competitions.
"We are still in all the competitions. It’s about turning that into a trophy."
But Pochettino was warning just a few days ago that "to be real contenders, we need to operate in a different way in the future".
In other words, start spending more money like their Premier League and European rivals.
One minute the Argentinian says he would like to stay at Spurs for 20 years, the next he is wondering aloud whether he should ask former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger if it’s worth sticking around that long when you have to pay off the debt used to build a new stadium.
One thing that is certain is the esteem in which Kane and his team-mates hold Pochettino.
Kane said: "He has a great personality. He is a great manager but he is a great guy off the pitch as well. You can have a bit of banter with him.
"He treats you like a friend, but he earns that respect from you. He is great to talk to, but most importantly he is a great coach and all the players here want to play for him."
Solskjaer certainly seems to have the United players wanting to play for him, with five wins in a row since taking over as caretaker boss.
Kane has noted how the scorer of the stoppage-time winner in the 1999 Champions League triumph is proving to be a super-sub as manager, just as he was as a player.
"He had a great mentality to come on and change the game.
"He has gone into management there and changed something around — because they are doing well so far.
"United have been in great form and are coming off some great results. They are going to be confident and they are going to have a lot of energy.
"They won’t have played midweek as we have."
Tottenham looked tired in the second half of the win over Chelsea, but held on to the lead that Kane’s controversial first-half penalty had given them.
United will be fresh from warm-weather training in Dubai but Kane said: "We have to bring that same energy.
"That’s when we’re at our best, when we’re pressing and everyone is on the front foot.
"It will be another tough game. But we feel confident against the bigger teams.
"We know we can play with the ball and we know we can dig deep like we did against Chelsea, and catch teams on the counter-attack.
"We are going to need both those attributes and we’re looking forward to it."
The fact Spurs fans can now relish games against United with less of their trademark pessimism is a signal of the club’s progress under Pochettino.
The trouble is that another victory today would only underline his credentials to be the next permanent manager at Old Trafford.