Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder insists Jose Mourinho remains “the best in the business” as his side prepare to host Tottenham.
Mourinho has won 23 major honours in four different countries, including three Premier League titles in two spells at Chelsea, but the Portuguese has had to shoulder some criticism in recent years amid suggestions his star is on the wane.
His ill-fated spell at Manchester United is considered a failure by many, yet during his two full seasons in charge he won the Europa League and League Cup and steered the Red Devils to second in the Premier League – the club’s highest finish since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013.
Mourinho was appointed by Tottenham in November 2019, 11 months after he was sacked by United, with the remit of ending their 12-year trophy drought – which he could do this season after guiding Spurs to the final of the Carabao Cup.
Wilder could not speak more highly of the 57-year-old ahead of Sunday’s game at Bramall Lane.
“I have an incredible amount of respect for Jose. He’s my favourite current manager in the Premier League, amongst a load of really fabulous managers, but I really like him,” said the Blades boss.
“The Premier League is full of top managers but for me he is the best in the business. He makes players winners as well as being the ultimate winner himself.
“He is a box office manager who, I believe, is top of the tree. He has done it in different countries, and I know he splits opinion, but he doesn’t split opinion on me.
“He’s a fabulous guy to speak to as well – even away from the game too. He’s one of those people who you get nervous about inside, and I’m a 53-year-old man getting nervous about meeting Jose Mourinho. But you look at his track record…
“He is the big one, the main man, who is one of the main men in world football and has been for some time and, for me, always will be.”
Wilder got the better of Mourinho over the two Premier League fixtures last season, drawing 1-1 away before beating Tottenham 3-1 at Bramall Lane in July following the resumption of football post-lockdown.
“To repeat that, we have to play to the best of our ability, as we always have to in this league, and take our chances and make the most of our moments – and we did that last season,” said Wilder.
“If we play well, then who knows. But we are up against a top side with fabulous players and a fabulous manager.
“Tottenham are right up there and I imagine the manager will be extremely frustrated with the late goals they have been conceding, because obviously that has affected their points total.
“It is not a bad position and points total at the moment, but for those late goals they would be right there at the top of the league.
“They’ve got some incredible players who can hurt you, incredible players on the bench and incredible players who don’t even get into their squad.”