West Ham manager David Moyes has hailed the winning mentality of Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho ahead of Sunday’s meeting between the two.
The rival clubs will do battle at the London Stadium this weekend with the Hammers in the unfamiliar position of being top dogs in the capital approaching the business end of the campaign.
Mourinho took over at Spurs in November 2019 and a month later Moyes returned to West Ham for a second stint, but it is the Scot who currently has his side on course for European football next season.
Despite Tottenham’s Portuguese manager boasting an illustrious CV, where he has won 25 trophies, the last silverware he delivered was three years ago and the Lilywhites have struggled for consistency in recent months.
“I have to say throughout my managerial career, especially when I came into the Premier League and Jose came, he has been probably one of the hardest competitors of all,” Moyes said.
“He has always been very good, hard to play against and his teams are great.
“Jose Mourinho, whenever he decides to finish up, he will go down as one of most winning managers of all time and that will be in record.”
Sunday will be the 16th time the duo have faced off on the touchline and the West Ham boss is still searching for his maiden victory against the three-time Premier League winner.
Moyes has lost nine times to Mourinho but would have expected that to be in double figures after Spurs were three goals ahead in the most recent encounter in October before the Hammers produced a remarkable fightback to draw 3-3.
“To come from 3-0 down, I am sure there are plenty who have done that in their career, but to come from 3-0 down, with 10 minutes to go against Tottenham Hotspur takes some doing,” the 57-year-old added.
“I certainly can’t remember it in my career or as a football manager (happening). It was a great achievement the players got. Sometimes you need a result like that to get you going and get momentum going and belief. I am sure we took a lot of belief from coming back.”
The east London club had lost two of their opening four league games before the trip to Tottenham but have suffered only four more defeats since to sit fifth in the table and notably above champions Liverpool.
While it has been an excellent campaign to date for West Ham, one thing missing is a victory over the traditional top clubs.
Moyes admitted: “It would be really significant if we can because it would keep us pushing on in the position we are in.
“Let’s not kid ourselves on, we are only new to this. We are the new kids on the block. We are trying to challenge and hang in.
“If we can stay on the coat-tails of the clubs above us, who knows where it might go. What I would say is the players have done a brilliant job and we are challenging every game. We might not win every game but we are certainly having a go and trying to make our mark.”
Forward Michail Antonio has a “good chance” of being fit to face Spurs after missing the last two games due to fatigue.