Tottenham no longer appear to be the same underachieving side they have been for years.
Quoted by The Guardian from his 2014 autobiography, Roy Keane alledges that the legendary Scottish manager used a simple three-word team talk to inspire his side against Spurs once upon a time: "Lads, it's Tottenham."
There is nothing small time about the project Mauricio Pochettino is building at White Hart Lane, with the Lilywhites demonstrating their huge promise with a 3-0 demolition of the Red Devils this evening to move back to within seven points of Premier League leaders Leicester.
It was only last season when a top-four finish would have represented an excellent season for title-challenging Tottenham, and Dembele says the mentality which Pochettino has instilled is what separates them from previous generations.
Asked about Ferguson's alleged comment, the Belgian midfielder said to The Telegraph: “I heard about that. You can’t compare it to three years ago. People respect us now. They know that they need to play against us like they play against a top team.
"In the past, Tottenham always had unbelievable players but now there is a different mentality. That’s what has changed.”
Dropping points against United would have effectively handed the title to Leicester, who beat Sunderland 2-0 this afternoon to move 10 points clear at the summit, but Pochettino's men responded to that pressure ruthlessly.
They still need the Foxes to slip up on a couple of occasions, but Spurs certainly look like the real deal.