Jose Mourinho's invaluable advice for Middlesbrough's Aitor Karanka
On Sunday, the Manchester United chief added the EFL Cup to the Community Shield his new employers collected in August to counter the critics who were less than impressed by his start at Old Trafford.
Karanka knows exactly what makes Mourinho tick and is adamant that he is driven by the same forces as he looks to keep Boro out of the relegation zone, a process which will continue at Stoke tomorrow.
He said: “I was with him for three years. We are different, but the mentality that we have about our job is the same. We think 24 hours per day, 100 per cent every day about our job.
“At the beginning he was criticised and, at the moment, he has two titles in his pocket.”
The pair, who will go head-to-head at the Riverside Stadium on March 19, still speak on a regular basis, and Karanka admits that the advice he receives from one of the game’s highest-profile managers is invaluable.
He said: “Always, especially in this situation, when you have help from your friends, it’s good.”
Any help Karanka can get at the moment will be welcome with Boro perched perilously above the relegation zone only by virtue of goal difference and having not tasted victory in nine league games.