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Chelsea boss Mourinho: Derby's McClaren deserves higher level

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says he's a big fan of Derby County manager Steve McClaren ahead of their FA Cup encounter.

Mourinho was close to succeeding McClaren as England boss in late 2007, following his own departure from Chelsea and prior to the appointment of Fabio Capello.

"I was almost there when I left Chelsea, but after that no more chances," said Mourinho, who rates McClaren as a boss following his Dutch Eredivisie success with FC Twente.

"I'm happy to play against Steve, I'm happy to think back. I'm happy with his success in Holland.

"With full respect for the Championship, where very good managers are, I think Steve belongs to a different level.

"Hopefully he's back to the Premier League soon. I'll be happy with that."

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