Ex-Liverpool, Manchester United and Newcastle forward Michael Owen has claimed that while Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez are both excellent managers with proven track records of success, the pair share a significant character flaw when it comes to relationships with players.
"There is no question that both Benitez and Mourinho are outstanding tacticians, two of the best in the business, but they also have personality traits that are hard to like," Owen told Yahoo! Sport this week as the two coaches prepare to face each other at Old Trafford on Saturday.
"Benitez is a master at setting at team up that will be tough to break down and Mourinho has shown time and again down the years that he knows how to take a sting out of a game as well, but you also hear a lot of stories that suggest the two men are also quite cold towards their players when they want to be," the BT Sport pundit and co-commentator added.
Benitez and Owen were like ships passing in the night in the summer of 2004, but the retired England star stayed in the loop at Anfield by talking to those who remained.
"I didn't work with Benitez for long before I left Liverpool to join Real Madrid in the summer of 2004, but speaking to friends like Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, they would say that Rafa is not the warmest of characters around his players," he explained.
"You hear similar tales about Mourinho being distant with his players and maybe that is a personality trait that has changed in him in recent years."
By his own admission in an interview with Rio Ferdinand in May of this year, Mourinho's biggest weakness as a manager is learning how to handle players who are less mentally strong than others and who have a different character than himself.
"When he first came to Chelsea, John Terry and Frank Lampard were telling us how great Mourinho was when we met up with them in the England squad," Owen commented.
"They said he was a great laugh, got close to the players and was wonderful to work for, but we have seen a few examples of the opposite from him in recent years.
"It seems that if you are in his team and part of his immediate plans, he will defend you to the hilt, but if you are out of form or injured, he ignores you."
Mourinho's United are looking to return to winning ways in the Premier League this weekend after suffering defeat at the hands of Chelsea in their last outing. Benitez's Newcastle are also looking for a positive result after they were beaten at home by Bournemouth last time out.