Spurs ready to prove they can mount a real title charge
Harry Kane and his Tottenham team-mates had just returned to the changing room after thrashing Watford when they began plotting Chelsea's downfall. Kane admits the talk among the Spurs players at Vicarage Road quickly turned to preventing Chelsea from equalling a record of 14 consecutive wins when the two rivals meet at White Hart Lane tonight.
Victory for Antonio Conte's side would see them become the first team to win 14 English top-flight games in a row within the same season. Arsenal managed 14 successive victories in 2002 but their run stretched over two campaigns, from February to August.
Tottenham certainly require no added motivation in halting their opponent's pursuit.
They trail the league leaders by 10 points in the table and will need no reminding of how Chelsea brought their own title challenge to an end last season, when a bad-tempered 2-2 draw, that included 12 yellow cards and numerous ugly clashes, confirmed Leicester would be crowned Premier League champions.
Speaking after Spurs hammered Watford 4-1 on New Year's Day, Kane said: "We definitely don't want to be the team that lets Chelsea break that record.
"Of course, we know that's in our mind, we were just talking about it in the changing room.
"So we're fully focused. It's going to be a great game and we're excited for it."
Tottenham arrive on the crest of a wave themselves, having won six of their last seven matches and scored 13 in the last four.
Without the distraction of the Champions League and with key players regaining both fitness, such as Toby Alderweireld, and form, like Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen, Spurs appear to have rediscovered their groove.
A win over Chelsea would not only move Mauricio Pochettino's men back into the top four, it would confirm a growing belief that they can launch a title challenge as serious and sustained as last term.
"I think we're a better team now, 100 per cent," Kane said.
"I think we're four or five points (it is four) better off than at this stage last season and we've probably not played as well as we did last season either.
"It shows we're on the right track. A lot of us are bigger, stronger, better and more experienced so hopefully we can continue that through the second half of the season."
Kane has looked as sharp in recent games as he has all season, recovering an aggressive streak that had been missing both following an exhausting summer and then an eight-week absence with the ankle injury he sustained in September.
Since his return, Kane has scored 10 goals in 11 games and he attaches a special significance to Chelsea, against whom he scored twice in Tottenham's resounding 5-3 victory in this fixture two years ago.
"Before that game I think I had scored goals against a few lesser teams in the league," Kane said. "I was excited to see if I could mix it a bit against the best defenders - I think they had the best defence in the league at the time - and that gave me a lot of confidence knowing I could do it against the best.
"That was definitely a big point in my career that I look back on as excelling me forward."
Kyle Walker and Jan Vertonghen are available again after serving one-match suspensions but Erik Lamela is still out.
- Tottenham v Chelsea, Premier League: White Hart Lane, Tonight, 8.00pm