Mourinho sends candid message to Amorim after Sporting beat Arsenal

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta reviews Sporting Lisbon

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Sporting Lisbon head coach Ruben Amorim has revealed he received a text message from Jose Mourinho shortly after dumping Arsenal out of the Europa League on Thursday. The Portuguese boss put another feather in his cap after overcoming Mikel Arteta’s side on penalties to advance to the last eight and Amorim hailed Mourinho as “one of a kind” after recent comparisons between the pair.

Amorim is rated as one of the most promising coaches in Europe after guiding Sporting to their first league title in 19 years in 2021-22, and overcoming Arsenal in the Europa League only serves to further highlight his talents. Sporting beat the Gunners 5-3 in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw at the Emirates on Thursday.

Granit Xhaka’s first-half strike put Arsenal on course for victory before Pedro Goncalves’ magnificent 50-yard drive from just inside the Arsenal half caught Aaron Ramsdale napping to level the tie at 3-3 on aggregate.

Amorim gave a rousing speech for extra-time and then penalties, inspiring his side to advance to the quarter-finals after Gabriel Martinelli missed his spot-kick, with Amorim’s stars successfully finding the net with all five of theirs.

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Comparisons have been made with how Mourinho made his name by knocking out Manchester United with Porto and Amorim’s victory over Arsenal. But the 38-year-old insisted the former Chelsea and Tottenham boss was unique in his own right and heaped praise on Mourinho after he received a text of support.

“There will never be another Mourinho,” he told reporters. “He is one of a kind, and he has already sent me a message saying that the old man and the young one have both qualified to the next round.”

Amorim, who has been linked with replacing Antonio Conte as Tottenham manager, insists he is fully focused on his progress with Sporting and admitted he had doubts over whether he would be sacked with the Portuguese side enduring a disappointing domestic campaign this season.

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“We spoke four weeks ago about me potentially losing my job, I’m not really worried about that. And all the words I had before the game, even going through, the objective is that I’m very happy here, the objective is to win one more league for Sporting – which is very important.

“I don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow, but that’s not going to worry me because everything in my life has happened very quick without really looking for much.

“The new Mourinho I won’t be, but I’m happy to carry on at Sporting’s project.”

Mourinho’s Roma will be of the teams to watch in the last-eight draw after overcoming a difficult tie against Real Sociedad, prevailing 2-0 on aggregate following a goalless draw on Thursday in San Sebastian.

He could face a reunion with his former club Manchester United at Old Trafford after Erik ten Hag’s side eased past Real Betis 5-1 over the two legs. The tactician, 60, spent two and a half years with United before his sacking in November 2018, having won the Europa League and FA Cup.

But facing up against Amorim’s Sporting would provide a mouthwatering match-up to prove the legendary boss still has what it takes against one of the game’s brightest prospects.

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