Jose Mourinho believes Thomas Tuchel is a good fit as Chelsea coach and thinks he can exploit the “potential” in their squad.
Mourinho welcomes Tuchel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Thursday night. It will be their first meeting since the German replaced Frank Lampard in the Chelsea dugout.
That’s a role Mourinho knows well, as he has had two spells as Chelsea boss in his own managerial career.
Now, he will be hoping to deny his former employers and Tuchel when they meet – but the Spurs manager always expects a tough challenge against Chelsea.
“Chelsea is Chelsea,” he said. “They changed the coach but they did not change the players. There are lots of very good players, lots of potential in that squad.
“They had a good coach with Frank, who was doing a good job with them, they have a good coach now with Tuchel.
“He was coming from a league that you cannot compare with the Premier League but he is used to working with players of high calibre, used to dressing rooms with important players. He will fit well in a club like Chelsea.”
Tuchel will have some way to go to match Mourinho’s own reputation in management, though.
The current Tottenham boss has won league titles in four different countries, as well as the Champions League with two different countries.
Asked what the difference between a good manager and elite one is, he replied: “Winning the Champions League is history. There are many great managers that never won the Champions League. Sometimes it happens.
“With players it is a little bit the same thing. For me one of the most incredible players of the last 20 years, Ibrahimovic, still amazing player, who is 40 and he never won the Champions League. So that can happen and it is not because of that you are not a phenomenal player or coach.
“What I think makes a coach to become elite is to be successful in the top leagues, to be successful in leagues in a different dimension. I am not talking about Thomas, the French league is a very competitive league, apart from PSG, because they play in a different league.
“The biggest challenge for a coach is to work in the best leagues. Our league in this moment is the most challenging one.”
Mourinho issues Aurier, Ndombele updates
Tottenham go into their clash with Chelsea level on points with their opponents, so will be looking to edge ahead of them.
Mourinho will be without Harry Kane for the match, although the striker is not too far away from a return.
Two other players were in doubt for the game, but Mourinho has confirmed that Serge Aurier and Tanguy Ndombele will be available.
“Yeah, yes Serge is fine,” he said. “He’s the only player back to the group. He’s the only one so it’s Alfie Devine that leaves the group.
“In spite of working with us, he and Dane Scarlett now they work with us every day, now they go back to the academy to play. In this case Devine will not be involved because Serge will occupy his place in the squad.”
Asked if Aurier missed their last game, against Brighton, due to injury, Mourinho said: “No, no, no, not injury.”
And on Ndombele, who played against Brighton but picked up a knock, he confirmed: “Ok, ok. He’s ok. He had really, really a knock but no problems to play tomorrow.”
READ MORE: Mourinho reveals crunch Dele Alli talks in hint at way back for Spurs misfit