Liverpool linked Amorim ‘focused on winning titles’ at Sporting

Sporting CP manager Rúben Amorim brushed aside rumours surrounding his future on Monday and said that winning trophies this season at the Portuguese giants is his main priority.

The 39-year-old has been linked to the top job at Premier League leaders Liverpool, with Jurgen Klopp set to leave at the end of the season.

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The speculation around Amorim’s future has gathered pace in recent days with Bayer Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso — the frontrunner to replace Klopp — pledging his future to the Bundesliga club last week.

“The manager is clearly Sporting’s manager, Sporting’s manager and only Sporting’s manager,” Amorim stressed. “The players know how much they want to win and I want to win titles for Sporting. They are clear that everyone is focused on winning titles.”

Amorim ridiculed reports that Sporting have already lined up a successor in 37 year-old Englishman Anthony Barry, the assistant coach at Bayern Munich and the Portugal national team.

“The only thing that annoys me is that they already had a replacement for me,” Amorim joked. “That’s what got me the most upset, even today I told Viana [Hugo Viana, Sporting’s director of football] to calm down because it’s not like that.”

Amorim’s fluid, attacking style of play has attracted plenty of attention in his four years in charge at Sporting and he has already won a Portuguese league title and two league cups at the club.

This season Sporting lead the Primera standings by a point over arch rivals Benfica with a game in hand as the season reaches its climax.

On Tuesday. the two teams meet in the second leg of their Taça de Portugal semifinal at the Estadio da Luz, with Sporting defending a 2-1 advantage from the first leg on 29th February. On Saturday they meet again in another ‘Derby de Lisboa’ in the league — a game that could prove to be a title decider.

“In these games, clubs always have to win, whether Sporting or Benfica, they always have to get on top of their opponents,” Amorim said. “We’re prepared for that and I think we can be better in these kinds of games.”

Amorim has become known as ‘Special Two’ in certain circles — a reference to fellow Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho, the self-styled ‘Special One’.

“It doesn’t make sense and I have no illusions about it,” Amorim said, rejecting the notion. “There’s no comparison between the great Jose Mourinho and the Sporting manager.”