Tottenham boss Martin Jol insists even Jose Mourinho couldn't have bettered what he has done at White Hart Lane.

Two seasons ago they were a win from the Champions League and they secured fifth again in the last campaign, leading to the heightened expectation to compete for a top-four place this time around.

"That is why it was an eye-opener when I said no-one could have done better, because I firmly believe that," he added. "Even Mourinho. To be fifth with Spurs is probably not bad - it's very good. There was no manager before me who did the same."

Jol's case is strengthened by the number of young players he has brought through since taking over from Jacques Santini in 2004 - the oldest players starting against Middlesbrough last night were 27-year-olds Paul Robinson and Teemu Tainio.

"Sam Allardyce always had a different philosophy," said Jol. "He always took free transfers, pay high wages. We want the value on the pitch."