Jose Mourinho has hit out at Andre Villas-Boas for revealing their once-strong personal and professional relationship has broken down.
On the eve of their first clash as coaches, when Mourinho’s Chelsea visit Villas-Boas’s Tottenham Hotspur in the Barclays Premier League this afternoon, the latter admitted he no longer had a relationship with his one-time mentor and was not losing sleep over it. But Mourinho wasn’t impressed with Villas-Boas admitting it in public.
“I don’t describe [the relationship], because I’m not a kid to discuss relationships with the media,” Mourinho said yesterday. “It’s a personal thing. I don’t care what he says. I’m not here to comment on what he says. I’m not interested.”
Villas-Boas worked under Mourinho as a scout at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan before deciding to go his own way after being denied a more senior role. Their bond soured after Villas-Boas left Mourinho to take over Portuguese team Academica.
After winning an impressive treble in charge at Porto, Villas-Boas became manager at Chelsea and moved on to Tottenham.
“We had a great personal and professional relationship before that – we don’t have now,” he said. “I don’t think we need explanations but our relationship broke down. I think we have the mutual respect for each other and we understand what we’ve been through cannot just disappear, but it’s not like it was before.”
Asked if he will meet with Villas-Boas, perhaps over a glass of Portuguese red wine, following today’s match, Mourinho insisted he would not turn an invitation down. “When people invite me, I always go,” he said. “I never refuse.” Villas-Boas and Mourinho both cite the late Bobby Robson as having a strong influence on their coaching careers while the Englishman was manager at Porto from 1994-96.
Mourinho was Robson’s interpreter at the club while Villas-Boas lived in the same block and famously once lectured the new manager on his tactics and player selection.
Villas-Boas’ claimed connection with Robson seemed, however, to jar with Mourinho. When asked whether the “spirit” of Robson would be at White Hart Lane today, the Chelsea manager said, “Why? Where [did] he work with Andre?”
Villas-Boas enters today’s game with the upper hand, with home advantage and a two-point lead over Chelsea in the standings. Spurs have won eight of their first nine games this season, conceding just one goal.
“This game won’t have any significant impact,” Villas-Boas said. “It’s normally in the games against the other teams that can affect your position a little more dramatically.
“This is a big clash between two teams that competed hard for the Champions League spots last season.”
He added: “I think we could have the tightest Premier League in years. We just have to continue getting the most amount of points as possible.”