Roy Keane believes Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has 'the edge' over the other managers in the Barclays Premiership - including Manchester United chief Sir Alex Ferguson.
The former Old Trafford captain admitted to admiring Mourinho and his team in an interview in the Sunday Times magazine.
Keane said: 'Mourinho's got something.
'He has the edge at the moment. He plays games and I think they can have a big effect on his team and on the opposition.
'Do you remember when Chelsea played United at Stamford Bridge, end of last season, and there's two minutes to go in injury time, and he gets up and walks up to where the United lads are, and he's shaking Alex Ferguson's hand and the game is still going on?
'Two years ago no-one would have done that to Alex Ferguson.
'That's what good managers thrive on, that kind of slight. People love to criticise Mourinho, but I like watching Chelsea.
'They're well organised; they know their jobs.'
The former Republic of Ireland international, who has had disciplinary problems himself, revealed he sympathised with France star Zinedine Zidane when he was sent off in the World Cup final for headbutting Marco Materazzi.
Keane added: 'I could understand what he did 100%. I could sense his frustration: he'd just missed a header before that, then a pass went astray; you could see he was getting tired, and all you need is a flipping comment at that moment.
'That's what used to happen to me.
'You see, at that moment it doesn't matter who is watching, doesn't matter that it's a World Cup final. It could be a park field.'
Keane also concedes he was over the hill before he joined Celtic last season after being forced out of United.
'When I first went to United, Bryan Robson was somebody I looked up to, still do.
'But I was young, and when you're young you smell blood.
'It was like, `Robbo, I'm after you, I'm taking you.'
'And I just felt over the last couple of years with the younger players at United, I was losing that influence.
'They were the ones smelling blood. In terms of dominating I was definitely losing it.
'It might have been something the normal fan wouldn't recognise, the manager wouldn't even recognise it, but I recognised it.
'I was always my own judge, sometimes harsh, but in the end I wasn't quite at the races.'