Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino insists Jose Mourinho is still special.
Spurs take on Manchester United on Sunday, hoping to extend a difficult period for their opponents, who have managed only one win in eight Premier League matches.
Mourinho, the self-proclaimed Special One, sees his United team six points behind Tottenham and already 13 points adrift of table-toppers Chelsea ahead of the game.
Pochettino, however, believes the Portugese needs more time at his new club.
“For me, he is the Special One and will always be the Special One,” Pochettino said.
“For me, he was a reference when I started my career at Espanyol. He was always very kind to me and opened his door.
“I always assess my colleagues and try to be objective – I really believe he is one of the best.
“Sometimes you struggle a bit – it’s not easy to arrive at a new club, set up ideas and philosophy but, for me, he was, is and will be one of best managers in football history.”
Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea midway through last season after a poor start to their title defence and he has cut a frustrated figure during the current campaign.
He was fined for comments made about referee Anthony Taylor in October, sent off against Burnley later that month and last week received a charge of improper conduct for kicking a bottle against West Ham.
“You get frustrated from the touchline but he doesn’t do different things from me or another manager,” Pochettino said.
“I like Mourinho, I have a good relationship with him. But I try to be objective too and his behaviour is no different from another manager – but because he is the Special One, sometimes people, referee, the media focus on him.
“But if you compare (him) with another manager, who behaves worse than him, they are not in the focus because they are not the Special One like him.”
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