RALPH Hasenhuttl is looking forward to pitting his wits against Jose Mourinho for the third time in five weeks.

Hasenhuttl had not been up against a team managed by Mourinho before beginning 2020 with the 1-0 win against Spurs on New Year’s Day.

But the Special One is becoming a familiar adversary as Saints head to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium following the 1-1 draw against Mourinho’s men in the FA Cup fourth round at St Mary’s 11 days ago.

“He’s the Special One and you can feel it,” said Hasenhuttl. “He’s won so much, he has so much experience and he’s a special character.

“The good thing is you always have a chance against anybody and it’s always a big challenge for every coach to play against the big ones.

“Klopp, Mourinho, they’re all the highest level, and for you as a manger it’s always a good challenge to improve yourself.”

Hasenuttl and Mourinho are very different managers.

The high press is not an approach favoured by Mourinho, whose counter-attacking philosophy is beginning to take shape at Spurs, as evidenced by their 2-0 win against Manchester City on Sunday.

But Hasenhuttl believes he can learn from the Portuguese nevertheless.

“On every path you think about things you can maybe learn,” he said. “You’re always looking at every coach and what he does. It’s normal because you’re watching your opponents and what they prefer and how they do things.”

Hasenuttl also learnt from Saturday’s 4-0 defeat against Jurgen Klopp’s all-conquering Liverpool, although they did not have the chance to share a post-match drink.

“We were very concentrated,” explained Hasenhuttl. “It was a very important game for them and for us also. We speak a lot but you could feel that he was very focused because he knew it was difficult against us which I think it was.”

The Saints boss appreciated his friend’s tribute to his team. “First and foremost, I really have to say, wow, Southampton – what a team that is,” said Klopp. “The set-up they have is constantly causing you problems.”

Hasenhuttl added: “The biggest praise you can get maybe is the way he talked after the game. I would also like to play not that good and take something! Next time maybe. I’m still waiting to win something against him but it’s the highest level and I enjoyed the game.”