André Villas-Boas has said he loses no sleep over the breakdown of his relationship with Chelsea's José Mourinho, his former mentor, as he prepares to face him for the first time in Saturday's grudge match at White Hart Lane.
The Tottenham Hotspur manager is no longer in contact with Mourinho, although they spoke when they saw each other at a Premier League managers' meeting early last month, and he traced the beginning of the friction to their time at Internazionale.
Villas-Boas had worked under Mourinho at Porto and Chelsea as the opposition scout but he wanted greater involvement in first-team coaching at Inter, only for Mourinho to deny him. Villas-Boas attempted to strike out alone as a manager in the summer of 2009 but he missed the vacant job at Braga. He severed his professional ties with Mourinho in October of that year when he accepted his first managerial post at Académica de Coimbra.
Villas-Boas's personal relationship with Mourinho went on to unravel and it has added further spice to Saturday's lunchtime derby. There is hostility between the clubs at boardroom level, which came to the surface again at the end of last month when Chelsea hijacked Tottenham's pursuit of the Brazilian attacking midfielder Willian. Villas-Boas was also frustrated by an unsuccessful move for the Stamford Bridge playmaker Juan Mata.
There is loathing between the rival sets of supporters and part of Villas-Boas's story is his failed spell as the Chelsea manager in 2011-12.
"I don't care about Chelsea," he said. Villas-Boas was sacked after only eight months in charge by the club's owner, Roman Abramovich, whom he has since accused of broken promises and "quitting on me".
Villas-Boas was candid about Mourinho. "We had a great personal and professional relationship before, that we don't have now," he said. "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]."
Villas-Boas was asked whether he talked to Mourinho. "No," he replied. "We talked at the Premier League managers' meeting when we were there on the 4th or 5th of August but not since then."
There will be no post-match drink on Saturday but Villas-Boas said that was because he has to dash for a flight to Portugal, where he will be a guest at Porto's 120th anniversary celebrations. Mourinho, who, like Villas-Boas, managed Porto to great success, has been invited but is not expected to attend.
Tottenham are second in the early Premier League table, two points clear of Chelsea in fourth, and there is the belief at White Hart Lane that their west London rivals are fearful of what they are building.
This was the reason, they feel, why Chelsea stepped in at the last minute to sign Willian from under their noses and why they refused to do business with them over Mata.
Chelsea maintain there was no possibility of them selling Mata, who moved to Stamford Bridge in August 2011 when Villas-Boas was in charge.
"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. I have no idea what motivated them to sign Willian but I am sure he has strengthened an already very, very good squad. It was their decision to make that happen."
The bad blood between the clubs had been evident in the summer of 2011, when the Tottenham chairman, Daniel Levy, refused to sell Luka Modric to Chelsea in the face of a £40m offer and the midfielder's desire to go. Modric moved to Real Madrid the following summer. There is no love lost between Abramovich and Levy.
Villas-Boas did suggest that Chelsea's capture of Willian had prompted Tottenham to accelerate their pursuit of Christian Eriksen.
The Denmark No10 signed from Ajax for £11.5m and he has made an exciting start to his Tottenham career.
"Eriksen was a player we knew very well so it could have been this season or the season after," said Villas-Boas, who reported that the winger Aaron Lennon would return to training on Friday after a foot injury. "Competition between clubs is aggressive and everyone strives to do the best deals possible."