Frank Lampard has hailed Jose Mourinho as the finest manager he has had the privilege to operate under, and claims it is the former Chelsea boss' power to motivate his players that marks him out above the rest.
Mourinho won two Premier League titles, one FA Cup and the League Cup twice during his time at Chelsea, and cultivated a personal relationship with his players unseen since his acrimonious departure from Stamford Bridge.
Lampard had a particularly strong bond with Mourinho during their time together at Chelsea, with the Portuguese able to transform the midfielder from one with great potential to one of the best in the world.
The 34-year-old believes Chelsea would not have been able to clinch the Premier League title when they did were it not for the hands-on influence of Mourinho, and outlined the credentials of the Real Madrid boss ahead of Wednesday's Europa League final.
"An elite manager is all about man-management and how you get on with players. Jose was the best," Lampard told reporters.
"He formed a spirit in the team that was formidable. We didn’t have a group mentality to win the league, but he brought it in.
"If you are a top-level manager then you will already have top-level players, but getting the best out of them is the trick and it’s 70 per cent of the job."
Mourinho would appear set to return to Chelsea at the end of the season following the departure of Rafael Benitez, and is likely to be greeted by the news that Lampard has extended his stay with the club by another year.
Lampard, however, has informed his would-be new manager that he is unable to perform like the days of old now he is at an advanced stage of his career, but is content with the way he has been able to alter his game in the years following.
He added: "I can’t play the same game that I did under Mourinho (first time around) when I had Claude Makelele behind me. Now we almost play with three No 10s (Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar) in the team and I’ve had to adapt my game."