Andre Villas-Boas says he does not care about his fractured relationship with Jose Mourinho, which provides a spicy subplot to Tottenham Hotspur’s Premier League match against Chelsea this weekend.
With Spurs flying high and Chelsea determined to win the league this season, this London derby was always going to have some bite to it.
But the soured history between the two Portuguese men has ensured the battle will take place on both sides of the painted white lines of White Hart Lane.
AVB had worked under The Special One as an opposition scout at Porto and Chelsea. When they moved to Inter Milan together, AVB asked his mentor for a promotion to the first-team coaching set-up, only for his ambitions to be denied.
That sparked the beginning of the antipathy between the pair, and AVB soon set out upon his own managerial career at Academica de Coimbra in Portugal.
He eventually replicated Mou’s success at Porto, but failed to do so at Chelsea.
They will now meet as rivals in the derby, but the younger manager insists he has lost no sleep over his “break-up” with Mou.
"I don't care about Chelsea," he said.
"We had a great personal and professional relationship before, that we don't have now," he added, regarding Mou.
"I don't think we need explanations on friendship and personal relationships. But our relationship broke down. I think we have the mutual respect for each other and we understand what we have been through cannot just disappear but it's not like it was before. I don't lose any sleep [over it].
"Our break-up point was because I was full of ambition to give him something extra [at Inter] and I wanted further involvement for the job I was doing at the time, which was scouting and match preparation. I felt I could give him much more so my initial idea was to keep working with him. But he didn't feel the need for somebody near to him or in another position as an assistant and, because of that, it was decided it was time to continue our careers [apart]."
AVB does not even have Mou’s phone number anymore, and so it was left to Spurs’ representatives to engage with him over the transfer tussle for Willian, and their tentative approach for Juan Mata.
Mourinho simply refused to sell the Spaniard to AVB, and hijacked his bid for Willian. And the Spurs boss has interpreted that as evidence that Chelsea are running scared of the project underway in the white half of North London.
"When top players become available, when their situation changes at a club and particularly for a player like Mata, you inquire about the situation but nothing went further than a simple inquiry," Villas-Boas said.
"We were fighting for the same objectives [as Chelsea] in the end last season …they, in the beginning, [wanted] the title but, after that, Champions League qualification … so I suppose they wouldn't like to strengthen a rival.
"I suppose that is a sign of evolution from Tottenham and our ambitions.”