‘I like the person and the coach’: Mourinho gives seal of approval to Man United linked manager

Jose Mourinho was uncharacteristically coy when asked what the future may hold for one of the many, many managers linked with the Manchester United post. 

Not one of Erik ten Hag’s Old Trafford predecessors would follow the path that might lead them. Or rather, the direction it ought to go.

However, Jose Mourinho did express his admiration for the 39-year-old coach who, in 2021, brought his team’s two-decade wait for league glory to an end. The coach may go on to win another domestic title before retiring into a brilliant sunset.

Ruben Amorim became the first Sporting Lisbon coach to win the Primeira Liga since the days of a blonde-tipped, brace-wearing Cristiano Ronaldo a few years ago.

With three games remaining in the current season, Sporting leads neighboring Benfica by three points and is looking forward to facing FC Porto in the Portuguese Cup final.

Ruben Amorim is one of Manchester United’s options

The Athletic is reporting that Ineos is still planning to keep Erik ten Hag at Manchester United because the new owners feel that there aren’t enough exceptional replacements. Therefore, it won’t hurt the former Portugal international’s reputation in the slightest if Amorim wins the league and the cup in the coming weeks.

Last year, The Times revealed that Amorim would be a candidate for the Manchester United position should it open up.

“It’s also a question I shouldn’t answer,” Mourinho told Mais Futebol when asked about his compatriot’s next step.

“What can I tell you? I like him as a person. (And) I like him as a coach. I think he has the qualities to coach in any league and he has the qualities to train at any club. But he’s in a good league and he’s at a big club (now).

“The decision is his and it will be up to the clubs that want him, or don’t want him, to convince him. What is clear from my side is that I like the person and I like the coach.”

Amorim – who has an admirer in United captain Bruno Fernandes – has been nicknamed the ‘anti-Mourinho’ by some.

Former Braga manager Amorim is more of a purist, unwavering in his belief in free-flowing, attack-heavy game, while Jose is possibly the greatest pragmatist in football history. Under his direction, Viktor Gyokeres, a striker extraordinaire with ties to United, broke through the 40-goal mark on Sunday.

However, it seems likely that Amorim will remain at Sporting until 2025 as things currently. He acknowledges that last week when he flew to England for talks with West Ham, he made a mistake. Arne Slot had surpassed Amorim in the competition to replace Jurgen Klopp by the time he returned to Portugal following the start of talks with The Hammers, despite Amorim being widely favored by Liverpool.

West Ham and Liverpool moves now unlikely

“So, let’s get the elephant out of the room and I’ll talk about it once,” Amorim said in a rather obvious attempt to clear the air. “The first thing is to say that the club was aware of my trip (to London). It’s important and changes the context.

“Obviously my trip was a mistake. The timing was completely wrong. It was wrong, especially when I’m so demanding with my players and always the first to say that each one’s actions can overpower the team. I have already removed players from the squad for much less.

“It was my mistake, I have to accept it and live with it.

“It didn’t seem so bad at the time, but thinking about it later it’s very clear,” adds Amorim, who became the third-most expensive coach in history when Sporting triggered the £9 million clause in his contract following only 13 matches in charge of Braga.

“I gave explanations to the players and the staff. Now it’s time to move on. Obviously, I also use the public part here to apologise to the Sporting fans, the staff and, mainly publicly to my players for the mistake I made.

“It was a mistake because the fact that we are close to winning the championship, nothing has been done yet, and the team leader causes this noise, is a mistake. Whether or not he is authorised. And I’m the biggest defender of that. That’s why I said it is an error.”

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