Both intelligent, thoughtful Portuguese, they would invite few comparisons now. Indeed, when Mourinho was asked yesterday whether the London derby would be coloured by the "spirit" of Sir Bobby Robson - a man cited by both coaches as a mentor - the Chelsea manager answered contemptuously. "Why? Where [did] he work with Andre?"
He was not inviting an answer. Mourinho had struck a similar tone throughout his press conference yesterday, becoming discordant with the tune which journalists were attempting to play. Earlier Villas-Boas had discussed openly the breakdown in the relationship between the pair, almost to the point that the fourth official at White Hart Lane this afternoon might well be replaced by a bouncer from the Jeremy Kyle Show. "I don't describe [the relationship], because I'm not a kid to discuss relationships with the media," said Mourinho.
"It's a personal thing. I don't care what he says. I'm not here to comment on what he says. I'm not interested. I have nothing to say, nothing at all."
It was left to find a subject which the Chelsea manager might deign to discuss, something like the evident strength shown by Tottenham this season. They are two points ahead of their London rivals ahead of today's meeting. "I think they are a big [title]contender," added Mourinho. "When I analyse Tottenham as an opponent, I think they have a much better squad now than they had the season before. Because you win titles with squads, I think they are much more contenders than they were before."
Typical of a manager careful not to fall flat after such a proud start to the campaign, Villas-Boas restricted his view to the rest of the Barclays Premier League. "I think we could have the tightest Premier League in years," said the Spurs manager.
"No team is on maximum points so it means this year it will be very tight at the top. Manchester United are struggling for points at the moment but on the other hand they have played all of the top teams."