Ahead of Manchester United's New Year's Eve encounter with Aitor Karanka's Middlesbrough, Jose Mourinho has heaped praise on his former Real Madrid colleague, who he classes not only as a 'well-qualified coach', but also someone with 'strong moral principles'.
The two worked together for several years during the Portuguese coach's spell managing Los Blancos, with Karanka serving as an able number two during a period of success for the club.
When previewing the Old Trafford clash, the United manager suggested that his contemporary's experience in the game since then stands him in good stead when it comes to negotiating the rigours of the Premier League.
"Karanka is certainly a different coach from the one I met during my time at Real Madrid," he said.
"He now has two-and-a-half years of experience as a manager in the Championship, one of the most difficult and demanding leagues in Europe, even though it is the second division in England...and half a year of Premier League coaching, which makes him very experienced.
"During my time at Real Madrid he participated in all things: the organisation of the team, the analysis of the opposition, the preparation for matches and training sessions.
"I think he is very well qualified and is demonstrating independence in his work."
Importantly, away from the particularities of coaching, Mourinho also saw fit to eulogise over Karanka's qualities as a human being.
"With me, he showed a very important characteristic: being an honest person, a loyal man with great moral principles, and when you have that characteristic, it does not matter what profession you dedicate to, you will always have an advantage," he added.
"He has demonstrated that and we will have a friendship forever. I think it is the beginning of everything."