Jose Mourinho believes fellow Portuguese manager Nuno Espirito Santo is doing “fantastic work” at Wolves as he prepares to face his former player.
Wolves visit Manchester United on Saturday having won their last two Premier League games 1-0 against West Ham and Burnley respectively, although Mourinho’s men are also in good form having won three in a row in all competitions.
Last season’s Championship winners sit ninth in the Premier League having made eye-catching signings including Portugal internationals Rui Patricio and Joao Moutinho.
Nuno played under Mourinho at Porto and the United manager believes the 44-year-old, who has been suggested as a possible successor to his compatriot, is doing a fine job at Molineux.
“Really good, last season dominant and we all know it’s not easy to be dominant in the Championship even if you have the best team,” Mourinho told reporters. “And it’s not easy to be dominant from the start to the end.
“Strong [transfer] markets, great work, great adaptation in the Premier League, getting points and performances, not just the points, that makes them feel and everybody feel, including myself, that they are going to have a very stable season, very far from the problems that a team normally has coming from the Championship.
“When they are players, always some players you have a feeling they can become managers, but even then I didn’t think about it at Porto, but 75 per cent of them are now managers.
“Nuno reached the Premier League level and he reached it by his own merits and credits. He didn’t come direct, he came to the Championship. He earned the right to be a Premier League manager and he’s done fantastic work, the results speak for themselves.”
Wolves have benefited from close links with Portuguese super-agent Jorge Mendes, who also represents Mourinho.
“I don’t speak with him for quite a long time to be honest, but when we speak we don’t speak about my job or his job, he’s my agent and that’s it,” Mourinho added.
“But I think the work in Wolves is good, because it’s not just about the Portuguese influence with the manager, the staff and players, it’s also about getting the right ones and I think they got good young players and they got also good, experienced, young players.”
Diogo Dalot made his Manchester United debut in the defeat of Young Boys in the Champions League but Mourinho wants to introduce the defender slowly to regular first team duties, with Antonio Valencia to return against Wolves.
“I want him in this process of adaption. I want him to play totally fresh so he won’t play tomorrow, he’s playing Tuesday [against Derby County in the EFL Cup],” Mourinho said of the teenager.
“I want him fresh and to play for Manchester United is difficult enough for a kid, 19 years old from another country, to have an important injury and a surgery is difficult enough, he doesn’t need more difficulties from the accumulation of matches.
“He played 90 mins in the Champions League on a difficult pitch, total recovery and play Tuesday, but he showed for those who don’t know him that he’s not a player to be here just for formation he’s for competition and for positions – he’s a very good player.”