By Toby Davis
LONDON, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Extra spice was added to Tottenham's clash with Chelsea on Saturday after Andre Villas-Boas said he went into management when his coaching ambitions were thwarted by Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan.
The two Portuguese managers will be in opposing dugouts for the first time when their teams meet in the Premier League, four years after Villas-Boas quit Mourinho's backroom staff at Inter to take a job back home with Academica.
The pair had been close, Villas-Boas working under Mourinho at Porto and Chelsea before the spell together in Serie A signalled the end of their working relationship.
The Tottenham manager had been an opposition scout for Mourinho but wanted a more hands-on coaching role, only to be rebuffed.
"My relationship with him professionally and personally was excellent, as you can imagine, because we worked so many years together," he told reporters at Tottenham's training facilities in Enfield on Thursday.
"Our break-up point was because I was full of ambition to give him something extra and I wanted further involvement to the job that I was doing at the time which was scouting and match preparation.
"I felt that I could give him much more so my initial idea was to keep working with him but he did not feel the need for someone near to him or in another position as an assistant and because of that we both decided it was time."
Villas-Boas denied there was any on-going feud between the coaches who have strikingly similar career paths with varying degrees of success.
They are on speaking terms, but are no longer close friends.
"We talked at the Premier League managers meeting when we were there in August, but since then no," Villas-Boas added.
The Tottenham boss may feel he has a point to prove at White Hart Lane against the team who sacked him after only eight months in the job.
Tottenham's excellent start to the season has put them two points clear of their London rivals, having won eight of their nine competitive games this campaign and conceding a solitary goal.
Victory would provide them with a healthy cushion and might also offer food for thought to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich who was quick to pull the trigger on Villas-Boas's reign at Stamford Bridge having tasked him with rejuvenating the squad.
The Tottenham manager, who set out his stall to challenge for the title when he took the job last year, feels Saturday's match is unlikely to have a decisive impact on the final table and what he believes could be the tightest title race in years.
"It can change very quickly, at the moment we are on a good run. There aren't any teams on maximum points, so this year it will be very tight at the top," he added.
"We could have the tightest Premier League in years. What is happening to us now, puts us in a positive mood, but we just have to continue trying to get the most amount of points possible.
"It is very early stages, anything can change dramatically, this game will not have any significant impact," Villas-Boas said.
"Whatever comes out, I'm not sure it will have a great impact on the classification at the end of the season, but we want to do well and build on our confidence."
(Editing by Ed Osmond)
- Sports & Recreation
- Jose Mourinho
- Premier League