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Mourinho is the heart of football, says Ranieri

Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri said Jose Mourinho is the "heart of football" and has to come back soon after he was sacked by Manchester United.

Mourinho's two-and-a-half-year tenure as United manager came to an end on Tuesday – the limp 3-1 defeat to Premier League leaders Liverpool the final straw for Ed Woodward and the club's hierarchy.

The Portuguese has already been linked with a return to Real Madrid and Ranieri urged Mourinho to return to management soon.

"I send a message with him. We are very friendly," Ranieri told reporters.

"I think a man like Mourinho has to come back soon, so too [former Chelsea head coach] Antonio Conte. These managers are the heart of football.

"They win in every country. It's good for all the managers to see them on the pitch."

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been appointed caretaker boss until the end of the season as United search for a permanent replacement amid strong links with Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.

United are sixth and 19 points off the pace in the Premier League ahead of Saturday's trip to Cardiff City, while Ranieri's Fulham are bottom of the table as they prepare to face Newcastle United.