Manchester United are gearing up for Tottenham Hotspurs visit to Old Trafford this Sunday. Ahead of the game, one of Spurs’ best players has opened up about his admiration for Jose Mourinho.

Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen is one of the key figures at Tottenham Hotspur under Mauricio Pochettino. Primarily used as a central defender, Vertonghen is also capable of playing left-back and has done so on a few occasions for Spurs.

Tottenham will be visiting Old Trafford this weekend riding on the high of back-to-back victories over Swansea City in the Premier League and CSKA Moscow in the Champions League. Vertonghen has stated ahead of the game that football needs managers like Jose Mourinho.

“He is a great coach first of all, and he has done great things with different teams,” said Vertonghen, according to FourFourTwo.

“He has shown he is a very good coach and a colourful character – but football needs that. He is a good manager and he says things in the media. Does that wind me up? Not really. It’s part of the job and he plays it the way he wants to.”

Vertonghen of course stopped short of saying he would consider playing under the Portuguese manager.

“Would I want to play for him? He’s not my manager so I’m not going to talk about this.”

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino (L) greets Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho (R) during the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea FC at White Hart Lane in London, Britain, 29 November 2015. The match ended 0-0. (Photo by Gerry Penny/EPA)

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino (L) greets Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho (R) during the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea FC at White Hart Lane in London, Britain, 29 November 2015. The match ended 0-0. (Photo by Gerry Penny/EPA)

This is the first time Manchester United and Tottenham play each other this season, but their destinies may be inextricably linked as the season wears on. Spurs currently sit above United in the Premier League table, in fifth place and six points ahead of sixth placed United.

However the vast majority of the season is yet to be played, and United will be a part of the mad scramble for a top four place. Spurs will be the first hurdle they will have to topple if they want to be successful in that quest.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City are all looking like they have cemented the top four places. If one of them should falter, it leaves the door open for either Spurs or Manchester United to capitalize. In this sense, the game this weekend could prove to be a very influential one on how the season pans out for the two teams.

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