Valencia has enjoyed a sensational campaign at right back, demonstrating power bombing forward and defensive prowess in equal measure.
The 31-year-old was rewarded for his endeavours this week with a one-year extension on his existing contract, which ensures that he remains at the club until at least 2018.
And Mourinho, speaking ahead of Man United’s visit to Stoke City on Saturday, was full of kind words for Valencia when asked about the extension.
“I don’t think it is a reward, I don’t see it in this perspective,” he said. “I just think he is the best right-back you can have. There is no better right-back in football.
“It is just for us to keep the best. I don’t think it is a reward. It is a privilege for us to have such a good player and such a good man.”
Mourinho went on to shed light on a failed bid to sign the Ecuadorian during his time as Real Madrid manager.
“He was not playing at right-back,” he explained. “Yes, I wanted him to play at right-back. But Manchester United was intelligent and strong, and immediately stopped any feeling about any possibility.
“Antonio is playing better than ever, I think. This season he is playing magnificently.”
The Portuguese has always placed emphasis on bustling, indefatigable and reliable full-backs during his managerial career, and it goes without saying that Valencia fits that mould perfectly.
Valencia has been nothing short of inexhaustible this season, seemingly incapable of showing any signs of fatigue, weakness, or even basic human emotion in any of his 22 appearances this season, and United fans will hope to see the Ecuadorian continue in similar fashion as the months go by.