Dundalk manager Vinnie Perth revealed that Jose Mourinho congratulated the Lilywhites following their Champions League victory in Riga last night.
The Airtricity League Champions defeated Riga on penalties on Wednesday night to advance to the second round of the qualifiers with a tie against Qarabag of Azerbaijan the prize following their win.
According to a report in the Irish Independent, after the game, Perth was given the phone by former Sky Sports reporter Andy Burton who is now involved in Dundalk’s American ownership group Peak6 and is a friend of Mourinho.
“Jose just rang,” said Perth. “I was a bit emotional as you heard at the start and then that added to it because he’s just a hero of mine.
“I know people question what he has done in the last couple of years but for me, he has always been a hero so for him to ring and congratulate me was a surreal moment.”
Dundalk dominated much of the proceedings against their Latvian opponents over the two legs but failed to find the net.
Perth also outlined that despite the tough task of group stage regulars Qarabag in the next round, a game against a more open and attacking side may suit the Lilywhites a “little bit better”
“In many ways it might suit us a little bit better,” he said. “We played against a team who sat in for the first game and in the first half again tonight.
“It might suit us a little bit more that it’s a different type of game. Stephen O’Donnell is over there tonight and we’ve watched their last two games.
“If we progress we’ve a great opportunity but if we do go out of this competition we’ll take Qarabag’s seeding into the third round of the Europa League.
“We’ve given ourselves a chance. We’ve still got something to prove as it wasn’t vintage Dundalk in these two games but I think we’re in a good place.
“It does encourage us that we’re slowly but surely building towards what we think we can be.
“I just don’t want to compare us to 2016. I think we’re a different side and have a slightly different make up.”