“My record was very good,” says Roberto Di Matteo of his on-pitch duels with Tottenham as a Chelsea player. “I never lost to them.”
At 12.45pm today, that record will be tested in a whole new way when Di Matteo takes to the dug out for his first game managing the Blues against their old enemy, Spurs.
In the years since the Italian last took to the field against the rivals from north London, much has changed. Blues have risen to the heights of English football, winning three Premier Leagues and a host of other silverware; before arguably falling back down a bit.
And now, for the first time in a while, Tottenham sit five points above them in the league – and crucially, in possession of that fourth Champions League qualifying slot.
But Di Matteo remembers those clashes where he bossed the midfield well.
I ask about the 6-1 win by Chelsea at White Hart Lane, a game from 15 years ago that the fans will doubtless sing about today.
“That was a long time ago,” he smiles. “I remember it. I scored with my left foot, I think - but I didn't score many with that.” (I later show him the Youtube footage of the goal again: “Told you it was the left foot!”)
Was that, a time when Tottenham couldn't get a win for love nor money, the golden age of Chelsea-Tottenham rivalry?
“There is still strong rivalry,” he insists. “Two London clubs. Spurs have been revived of late, but the rivalry is still very strong.”
There was a stage when Chelsea went a generation without losing to Tottenham. That record has slipped, and White Hart Lane is now a tough trip once more. But at Stamford Bridge they remain undefeated by today's visitors from N17 for 22 years. That last defeat, in 1990, came thanks to a Gary Lineker goal.
So will that heritage of superiority ensure Lineker is telling Match Of The Day viewers tonight that the record has been extended by another year?
“It is difficult for any team to come to Stamford Bridge,” says the 41-year-old assuredly. “We would like to keep that going. This has proven a difficult ground for Spurs. We want to take advantage of home form.
“But statistics - it depends how much you look at them. They're the past and you have to look to the future.”
Looking to the future, Chelsea have a battle on for fourth spot: miss it, and they have to win the Champions League to qualify for it.
A defeat to Tottenham would put Blues eight points adrift of it with eight games to play, and Di Matteo has already said: “If we lose it will be very difficult for us.”
So can they stave-off what previous boss Andre Villas-Boas called 'the unthinkable': failure to qualify for Europe's premier club competition.
“We have to believe in the confidence in the team,” says Di Matteo. “On paper our fixture list is the most difficult. But fortunately the paper is not always right.
“I didn't say we're outsiders. But we're not favourites. We're just in the mix with the other teams.”