Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira says Jose Mourinho had a bigger influence on him despite only spending two years with the former Chelsea boss at Inter Milan than Arsene Wenger.
The Frenchman, who has just taken on the head coach role at New York City, was brought to the Premier League by Wenger in 1996 and won seven trophies during his nine-year stay in north London, even leading the Invincibles in 2003-04.
The 39-year-old was speaking to the Times and was selecting a ‘team-mates XI’ when he was asked who he would pick as the coach of his side.
‘Jose,’ he said. ‘He’s the manager who had more influence on me.
‘Why? Because he was the one who impressed me most on his work ethic. He knew everything about the opposition, the strength, weakness.
‘His detail was unbelievable; everything was so clear about what he wanted from each player. I don’t know what happened at Chelsea but he always got the best out of his players.
‘Arsene is more concentrated on his own team. He gives freedom to players to express themselves. It’s a different style.’
Mourinho is currently out of work after being sacked by Chelsea last month, while Vieira agreed to leave his role as Elite Development Squad coach at Manchester City to join the affiliated club in New York in November.
Vieira left Arsenal in 2005 but unlike countryman Thierry Henry, failed to return to the club and admits he hasn’t spoken to Wenger about his new job.
He added: ‘Advice? He’s a busy man. I didn’t speak to him in quite a long time.’
David Seaman, Dennis Bergkamp and Henry join Mourinho in Vieira’s team-mates XI, alongside the likes of Zinedine Zidane.
Vieira was speaking ahead of the Premier League game between leaders Arsenal and 14th-placed Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.