As a crucial Saturday lunch-time kickoff between London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at White Hart Lane fast approaches there are further revelations surrounding the past relationship between two of the event's main protagonists: Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas and Blues boss Jose Mourinho.
Villas-Boas was believed to have been Mourinho's assistant at previous clubs and, together, they ventured from FC Porto, to Chelsea and then on to Internazionale. However, the former has explained that he 'was never [Mourinho's] number two,' as quoted recently by L'Equipe.
'I was part of his staff, but I was never his assistant. That's one of the reasons we went our separate ways. I thought I could give him a lot more, but he didn't feel the need to have someone next to him. So I decided to give myself freedom and think about my career, which wasn't difficult.'
While Villas-Boas effectively received a university education in football coaching during his time mirroring Mourinho, he also elected to distance himself from their similar career trajectories (From Portugal, to the Premier League, albeit having experienced contrasting successes).
'Yes, there are similarities: Porto, Chelsea,' AVB, a Primera Liga and Europa League double winner in 2011, said. 'But he has had a lot of success at Chelsea and I didn't have a good experience there.'
Villas-Boas is having an extraordinary experience in North London, though. The 35-year-old is largely responsible for the breakout year Gareth Bale enjoyed last season as the Portuguese afforded the erstwhile winger the freedom to roam. The sale of the club's forward asset bankrolled an abundance of new talent, a number of whom are in good form already and will be available for selection against Villas-Boas' former mentor, Mourinho, this weekend.
Who will win the battle of touchline wits? Will Tottenham shut Chelsea out like they have done to every team bar Arsenal this season or will the Blues bank a rare away league victory? Let us know in the comment section below.
image: © tpower1978