Bolton boss Owen Coyle insists he is looking forward to facing Chelsea and his old friend Andre Villas-Boas on Sunday.
Both managers took their coaching exams together in 2007 in Scotland, with the Blues boss then a coach under Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge.
Villas-Boas carried on under the now Real Madrid man’s wing until 2009 before moving to Academica and then Porto in Portugal, before landing the top job in west London this summer.
Coyle says he could see the talents of the Portuguese coach when they were gaining their badges together and is not surprised with the progress the Chelsea boss has made.
“Ultimately he is a winner. I saw that when we did our pro-licence together,” Coyle told reporters.
“This is not somebody who thought ‘I’ll go to Scotland on a whim and do a coaching badge, and then I might come back a year later’.”
“This is somebody who knew exactly how they wanted to plan their future development, to go from one year to another to progress.”
“That emphasises how meticulous he is in his preparation, and that goes for everything.”
Although just 29 at the time, Coyle insists that everyone believed his counterpart at the weekend was going to go far, adding: “I think all of us on the course could see that.”
“As a group we all liked him, we all took to him, and I certainly felt he was somebody driven to succeed, very good at what they do and obviously wanting to progress.”
“And like anybody else, because we all crave the same thing, if an opportunity did arise then I felt pretty sure he would take it, and he has done. He has become an outstanding manager.”
Coyle also spoke of the Chelsea man’s modesty: “He is an absolute gentleman. Under Jose he had a fantastic set-up to learn, but when you sit down with him as well, you find he is a gem.”
“He is somebody whose company you like. You could sit and chat with him all night about football, and any other topic, because he is a very intelligent man as well.”
“And what a lot of people might not know about him is he has a very good sense of humour.”
“He joined in with the banter, gave as good as he got, and we liked that about him. He didn’t take himself too seriously.”
“If you give a bit of stick you have to take some as well. We all did that openly with a big smile on our face, and he was a big part of that.”
“I became very good friends with him on the back of that, and he is somebody I’ve a lot of time for, and because of that I’m looking forward to Sunday.”