Mourinho breathes sigh of relief

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The Independent Football

Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho is breathing a sigh of relief following his side's progression to the last 16 of the Champions League.

The Nerazzurri went into their final game against Rubin Kazan needing a victory to guarantee they would advance and goals from Samuel Eto'o and Mario Balotelli gave the Italian club a 2-0 victory at the San Siro.

The result saw Inter finish second in Group F, two points behind winners Barcelona.

"This is the merit of all the squad," said Mourinho. "From our goalkeeper Julio Cesar to our striker Mario Balotelli, to those players that were on the bench and those that watched the game from the stands.

"The group has been able to stick together and suffer together."

Last season, Mourinho announced he wanted to be drawn against Manchester United in the last 16 and had his wish granted, only for the Red Devils to knock Inter out of the competition.

"When last year I said I would have preferred to face Manchester United, I did not say that because they were European champions," said Mourinho, "but because it would have given my team an extra motivation to face such a side.

"This year we cannot face Barcelona.

"But there are two top English clubs, then there's Real Madrid and Sevilla, who some may consider a weaker side but I believe it is a very difficult side to face.

"Bordeaux has done very well as well.

"I really don't know which one I would prefer."