Frank Lampard has no doubts over Jose Mourinho's elite credentials as he prepares to face his old boss in Derby County's EFL Cup trip to Manchester United.
United's mixed start to the season continued at the weekend as Wolves claimed a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
Mourinho's capacity to rouse a Premier League title challenge and his relationship with key players, such as Paul Pogba, have come under the microscope.
But Lampard, who is taking his first steps in management with Derby having starred under Mourinho during his Chelsea days, believes United's two trophies under the Portuguese in 2016-17 show his enduring capabilities.
"When you’re the manager of Manchester United, when you have the CV and the background of Jose Mourinho – and this is not ancient history, this is fresh history, the Europa League, the League Cup – then of course you have it," he told reporters.
"In terms of the 'special one' and that, those are just words. In terms of being a great manager, of course he is."
Mourinho famously dubbed himself "a special one" during his initial news conference at Chelsea in 2004 before leading the club to back-to-back Premier League title triumphs.
"I saw it and I liked it. It was something different," Lampard recalled.
"British culture is not to walk in and call yourself the 'special one', I don't think.
"That's the way he was and I admired him for it and actually, if you make those statements, you had better back them up, and he certainly did."
Aside from such bombast, it was the personal touch from Mourinho that made an impression with Lampard – even after he had left Stamford Bridge.
"He's strong on family. He was always like that as a manager," he added.
"He was fantastic for me when I lost my mother actually. He was at Inter at the time and he was ringing me regularly. And it's things like that you don't forget.
"Whether he's managing here or there, and you see what's in the press, you actually remember the person, and those little things he did with me were very special."
|Liverpool boost as Salah and Van Dijk join training|
|Cowboys discuss road woes, Prescott says team ´addressed the elephant in the room´|
|Isner scrapes through in Stockholm, Monfils eliminates Tsonga|
|Hinch says Altuve would be out with injury in regular season|
|WATCH: Schwarzenegger tells LeBron to make Lakers great again|
|LeBron tells Lakers coach Walton: I´m always fresh!|
|Mayweather should come back to fight me - Alvarez|
|Goerges battles past Vekic, Kasatkina wins all-Russian tie|
|Ask 32,000 Gibraltarians if the Nations League is meaningless - Styche|
|They´re going to speak about it for years - Azhar reflects on comical run out|
|Garcia in the mix as weather hits Andalucia Valderrama Masters|
|From lacking a ´football brain´ to signing a new contract – the Mourinho-Shaw saga|
|Alonso teases Indy 500 return as Hamilton reveals NASCAR temptation|
|Guptill ruled out of Black Caps´ UAE tour|
|UEFA investigating PSG-Red Star fan clashes|
|Just ´another weekend´ for champion-elect Hamilton|
|G League will offer $125K to top prospects in lieu of NCAA one-and-done route|
|Chargers defensive end Bosa ´a few weeks´ away from return, says father|
|Bale back in full Real Madrid training|
|Roma supporter found not guilty of inflicting GBH on Liverpool fan Sean Cox|
|´Fantastic´ Neuer will prove he´s still the best, says Lloris|
|Perez secures Force India stay|
|Australia wait on Khawaja scan|
|Shaw signs Manchester United extension|
|Jones lays down challenge to snubbed England star Cipriani|
|West Ham´s Pellegrini rejects Dzeko speculation|
|Emery fails to assure Ramsey of Arsenal future|
|Pakistan on course for victory after Babar 99 and farcical run out|
|Canelo ready to leave comfort zone to face Fielding|
|Eriksen ready for Tottenham return, Pochettino confirms|
|Titans coach rocked by Hurrell´s Rhinos switch|
|Rubin Kazan suspended from UEFA competition for FFP breach|
|Real Madrid could sack Lopetegui if results don´t improve, says Essien|
|On-court coaching would add to drama - Mouratoglou|
|Babbel lauds ´top class´ Ronaldo after Juventus switch|
|Carmelo Anthony: Rockets bench role challenging mentally|
|Maqsood preferred to Amir in Pakistan T20 squad|
|Make Ramsey Arsenal captain, don´t let him leave – Wilshere|
|Kaneria admits guilt in spot-fixing case|
|No coach can work miracles – Ibrahimovic defends under-fire Mourinho|
|Morgan earns England recall, Cipriani overlooked|
|Reavie leads CJ Cup, solid start from Koepka|
|Juventus kicked me out to sign Ronaldo – Higuain|
|England forward Hughes given six-week ban|
|Injured Halep withdraws from WTA Finals|
|Ronaldo exit makes all the difference for Real Madrid – Luxemburgo|
|Manchester United´s Chelsea Blues and other one-sided rivalries|
|Babbel fears for Kovac´s Bayern future|
|Bradley homers again, Red Sox take 3-1 lead over Astros|
|Ayton, Doncic shine on NBA debuts|
|Leonard focusing on future after Raptors debut|
|MLS Review: Rooney stunner seals DC win, Sounders clinch play-off spot|
|Pochettino ´proud´ of Dier for Ramos tackle|
|Wallabies name three uncapped players for All Blacks clash|
|Lakers coach Walton will monitor LeBron´s minutes, plans to use deep rotation|
|Lloris: United´s Pogba unfairly judged because of transfer fee|
|´Phenomenon´ Mbappe deserves Ballon d´Or, says Buffon|
|Dodgers on cusp of World Series after beating Brewers|
|Mata braced for ´difficult month´ at Man United|
|WATCH: Rooney scores wonderful free-kick for DC United|
|Kaino handed five-week ban for striking Roberts|
|Bears star Khalil Mack ´day-to-day´ with ankle injury|
|Anthony has ´a clearer understanding´ of his role with Rockets|
|Brewers remove Miley after one batter against Dodgers|
|Rams rule out Kupp for 49ers game|
|Giants owner Mara to talk with Beckham Jr|
|Bamberg battle back to claim Champions League win|
|MLB investigated alleged Astros sign stealing, found no wrongdoing|
|Timberwolves star Wiggins to donate $22 for every point this NBA season|
|Red Sox´s Sale won´t start game five of ALCS|