Jose Mourinho believes Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo is a much better coach than he was a player.
The Tottenham manager prepares to meet Nuno in opposing dugouts as Spurs are Wolves’ visitors to Molineux on Sunday.
Nuno was a goalkeeper at Porto during Mourinho’s reign as their manager, winning the Champions League in 2004.
Mourinho reckons Nuno has perfected his own style as a head coach and is very different to the player he had a second-choice goalkeeper a decade and a half ago.
“He didn’t play many times – he was more on the bench than on the pitch – but of course he was my player and of course we won important things in our careers,” said Mourinho. “But now he’s an opponent. He wants to win, I want to win.
“He is a much better manager than a player. I’m not saying he was a bad player, I’m saying he is a much better coach than a player.
“I think he’ll be happy because he sees what he is now. And that’s the career he has now, he is not a player anymore. He is doing really, really amazing work.”
Wolves go into the game on an 11-match unbeaten run in the Premier League, equalling their longest in the top flight from 1962 and it’s their best since 1959 when they went 18 matches without defeat.
Mourinho isn’t surprised because he reckons Wolves are one of the best tactical teams and believes they totally buy into what Nuno wants.
“It’s not (co-incidental) that they are unbeaten for so long – they are very good,” added the Spurs chief.
“I think the team is really strong and solid. They’ve had the same coach for three years and the team is progressing with him all this time – good players, a good team, really doing well so a difficult match.
“For me has one of the best teams from a tactical point of view. And when I say that, I’m not referring to the system they play, or it’s the best to play, or not the best to play.
“I’m saying that’s the way he wants to play and his team plays exactly the way he wants to play. His players are perfect for the puzzle.
“I think they are very adapted to the way the players are, the profile of players that they have.
“Normally they defend with that line of five but then they are very fast in projecting people to counter-attack, they are physically very strong and intense.
“So the characteristics and qualities are perfectly adapted to the ideas he has for his team. So I think really, really fantastic work he is doing.”
Wolves have a stubborn record against the established top-six teams, including a 3-1 win awa to Tottenham at Wembley last season.
Mourinho isn’t surprised because of the ‘aggressive’ way they play.
“They create problems to the top teams,” said the former Chelsea, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Manchester United boss.
“They are not afraid to play against the top teams and really fight for victory, not just going to try and to see what is going to happen – they are not reactive, they are proactive.
“They have this style of play that is very aggressive and we as Tottenham felt that last season with a defeat at home and with a very difficult match and result also in their stadium.”
Spurs arrive at Molineux after a weakened side slipped to a 3-1 defeat at Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Mourinho is set to recall England captain Harry Kane among others for the game. So how have they prepared for the trip to Molineux?
“First of all, sleep. We arrived in a very professional way, of course with the great conditions that the club provides to us,” said the Portuguese.
“We stayed in the training ground (at The Lodge), we slept here and we rested in the best possible way.
“After that you have two groups of players – the ones that played in Munich for 90 minutes, the ones that didn’t and the ones that were lucky enough to stay here like Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Jan Vertonghen and Serge Aurier.
“Of course, with these four, we managed to have really good work.”