Spurs boss Nuno Espirito Santo saw Jose Mourinho as a mentor, who coached him at Porto and played in the 1996 Olympics

IT's now the turn of the apprentice to take over from the mentor.

Nuno Espirito Santo, 47, is the new Spurs manager, after his four-year spell at Wolves came to an end back in May.

Several other bosses, including Paulo Fonseca, Antonio Conte and Gennaro Gattuso were all linked with the vacant North London job, before turning Daniel Levy's advances down.

Ironically, Nuno's mentor before he became a manager was Tottenham's former gaffer Mourinho, who the 'Bearded One' played under at Porto.

They also share the same agent in Jorge Mendes, who Nuno met in the late 1990s.


Espirito Santo was a goalkeeper in his playing days, but spent a lot of time playing second-fiddle to a No1.

After beginning his career at Vitória S.C., the 6ft 2in shotstopper met Mendes in 1996, who owned a video shop and ran a nightclub.

Nuno became Mendes' first client, and in 1997 he brokered a deal that would take the ambitious goalie to LaLiga's Deportivo La Coruna for a fee of around £1million.

He spent three of his six seasons there as Cameroon goalkeeper Jacques Songo'o's understudy, and was loaned out to clubs including Merida and Osasuna.

 A return to his homeland was inevitable.


In 2002, Mendes orchestrated a deal worth around £3million that brought Nuno back to Portugal with Porto.

In two years, he only played six times for the Portuguese giants – playing second fiddle to Vitor Baia.

But, in Mourinho, he had a man who respected him. Despite a lack of first-team football, Espirito Santo never complained or argued. More importantly, he continued to train hard and wasn't disruptive towards the team.

It was fitting that Jose would allow his substitute goalkeeper to take a penalty during a 2003 Taça de Portugal match against Varzim SC in a 7-0 rout. He scored too.

Nuno, for his part, also revered Mourinho.

Although he was an unused sub against Monaco in the Champions League final, the No2 was thankful for what his teacher taught him – giving him that winning habit needed to succeed.

Espirito Santo told Sky Sports: "When you speak about Jose Mourinho, personally he has an impact on me. Because I was a member of the [Porto] squad in 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 at Porto. That will stay forever.

"When you have someone that manages, coaches you and you follow, and you believe and you do everything that you can because you believe in that idea in your leader – that stays forever.

"That is the impact Jose Mourinho had on me. I think with every member of that squad he taught us how to win so that will stay forever."


Working under Mourinho also inspired Nuno to go into coaching.

So, when he called time on his career at 36, a career that saw him represent Portugal at the 1996 Olympics and get a call-up to the Euro 2008 squad, it was natural he would take up a post where he could pass on his experience.

He joined former Porto manager Jesualdo Ferreira at Malaga as a goalkeeping coach, before they both moved to Greek side Panathinaikos FC in 2010.

However, in 2012 Nuno branched out on his own when Rio Ave sacked Carlos Brito.

Working for the underdog seemed to suit the rookie coach, who guided the club to both the Taça de Portugal and Taça da Liga finals in his second season as boss, as well as a Europa League qualification for the first time in their history.

It was a matter of time before the big boys would begin to circle.


Nuno might've felt he had unfinished business in Spain, after a failed playing career.

So in 2014, he signed a one-year deal with LaLiga giants Valencia, who he led to fourth place in his first season.

Inevitably, an extension to his contract was inked – but in his second campaign he felt the pressure.

A poor start in both the league and Champions League saw Nuno resign from his post.

But in 2016, he was back with Porto – where he had enjoyed so much success – and was hopeful of bringing the Mourinho glory days back.

Sadly, it didn't work out as Nuno would've liked. Finishing runners-up in the league and without any silverware, he was relieved of his duties, heart-breaking for a man who loved the club as much as he did.


It could be argued that Nuno's best spell as a manager was his most recent, although parting by mutual consent in the summer might've left a bitter taste, but was perhaps necessary for Wolves to progress.

In 2017, he was named Wanderers boss – with the club still looking back at past achievements and languishing in the Championship.

Espirito Santo led the club to the Premier League after a six-year absence in his first season.

The following year, they took the Premier League by storm – with Portuguese stars Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves pulling the strings.

The club finished seventh in the 2018–19 league season – their highest Premier League rank and their highest in the English top flight since the 1979–80 season, which also got them Europa League qualification.

The locals were enamoured – joking his beard had mystical powers. The University of Wolverhampton awarded Nuno an Honorary Doctorate in Sport.

Nuno repeated the trickin 2019-20, once againstfinishing seventh and gaining Europa League qualification.

They also reached the quarter-finals of the Europa League, but his third campaign in the Premier League saw standards slip.

It could be argued injury to Raul Jimenez hurt his cause – as the side limped to 13th. They were in sixth place until his horrific cracked skull injury in December ended his season, and effectively theirs.

But Nuno knew it was best to part with his Midlands love affair, after such a stellar job . And now a challenge at Spurs awaits. The question is; will Nuno bring success he had at Rio Ave and Wolves to North London? Or, will it be another Porto car-crash and end in hasty fashion?

Whatever happens, he will bring a winning mentality with him like his mentor Mourinho.

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