Mourinho claims his greatest scalp of all
Manager revels in triumph as 10-man Inter hold off Barça to reach European Cup final
Thursday 29 April 2010
Victoria, victoire, vittoria, sieg. Whatever the language, "The Translator", as Barcelona fans derisively tag their former employee Jose Mourinho, knew exactly how to achieve it at Nou Camp last night.
The controversial coach oversaw a 3-2 aggregate victory after limiting the holders to a 1-0 win, and that was only provided by a goal seven minutes from time by Gerard Pique. Bojan Krkic thought he had won the tie in injury time but had his "goal" disallowed for an involuntary handball by Yaya Touré.
At the final whistle Mourinho sprinted onto the pitch, one arm upraised, a finger pointing to the heavens. That is where the travelling support appeared to be based, such is the rake of the Nou Camp arena, but Victor Valdes, the Barcelona 'keeper, took exception and attempted to hold Mourinho's arm down. It was a bizarre echo of the scene in Dr Strangelove when Peter Sellers has to hold his own arm down, but there was nothing funny about the situation for Barça, and Valdes had to be dragged away before the referee stepped in to keep the pair apart.
Mourinho defended his right to celebrate what he called an historic win. He said: "I was celebrating with my fans. It is my right to do that. They are my fans. It is not a problem. When you go on the pitch it is not just about skill you have to give blood to win.
"I always say that a team that wins all the time finds it very difficult to lose. I was a bad loser when I came here and lost 2-0 in the group stages. They won everything last year and you can't say just because they lost tonight that they have lost their power. You cannot say that they are not now a great team but we played very well in both games.
"We played to win at home and here we played as we could. They had the ball more but I did not say to my players 'give them the ball we don't want it'. It is Barça that take the ball from you and does not give it back."
If Inter win the final on 22 May then all eyes will be on Mourinho's next move. Asked about the possibility of doing as he did after the Porto Champions League victory and moving on from Inter after the final, he said: "I am 47 years old and I hope, God willing, I have 23 years left to coach. I will lose games and I will win games. I will cry after matches and I will jump for joy after others. I cannot compare myself to any of the great coaches who have passed before. I just do my job."
Asked about the controversy that has already surrounded him on every return to Nou Camp, he said: "If I played all the time against them and I lost all the time they would love me that is for sure. We play them 10 times in a few years and once we knocked them out with Chelsea, another time they knocked out us. This was a semi-final that was an obsession for them. It is impossible for them to love me after this result."
For Mourinho it was a victory not just over Barcelona but once again over the world's best player. "For Messi it is better for me not to speak because you never know what will happen next time," he said. "Maybe he will score four or five. It was a team job and the style Inter played is the style Inter played against Chelsea and it was the style we played against Barcelona at home and we could have beaten them by four or five. This is our style."
Mourinho defended himself against accusations of a negative performance. He said. "The game started badly for us. We were not able to play. We had to play with Chivu, because of the injury to Pandev.
"The team lost something without him. I have always played with three attackers. Barça controlled it early on and logically with 10 men we had to defend but we controlled it with our spirit and our organisation and that was the difference.
"We made huge sacrifices – it is always difficult to play against them with 10. The are the best in the world with the ball. I decided not to take off a striker and we had some possession. They had the ball but they had it a long way from our goal."
Pep Guardiola said Inter had the right to defend, having given themselves an imposing 3-1 first-leg lead, and that attention would now be turned to trying to win the Spanish league to ensure what looked a season full of possibility for the Catalans does not peter away into nothing. "I would just like to congratulate my players for the effort they put in tonight and also the fans for the difference they made and the way they supported us from the first to the last," he said.
Guardiola had been beaten by public enemy number one but Mourinho's parting shot was for the Catalan fans who now despise him more than ever. "Barça have done amazing things in the last years. There is a thin line between the love and hate that the fans have for you. I am happy not because Barça lost but because Inter won – they are two very different things."
Inter now meet Bayern Munich, coached by Louis van Gaal under whom Mourinho worked at Barcelona, in the final. It is their first final since 1972 when a team including Giacinto Facchetti, Sandro Mazzola and Roberto Boninsegna was beaten by a brace of Johan Cryuff goals for Ajax.
Inter last won the European Cup in 1965 when Angelo Moratti, father of current president Massimo, was the owner.
*Internazionale have lifted the European Cup twice, winning in successive seasons in 1963/64 and 1964/65. They have finished runners-up twice.
Helenio Herrera led Inter to a 3-1 win over Real Madrid in Vienna in 1964 before retaining the Cup on home turf, beating Benfica 1-0. Celtic overcame Inter 2-1 in Lisbon in 1967, while Ajax beat the Italians 2-0 in Rotterdam in 1972.
*Inter manager Jose Mourinho, who won the competition with Porto in 2004, remains on course for a unique treble of Italian league, cup and European Cup, something Herrera failed to achieve.
*Champions League Final
Bayern Munich v Internazionale
Saturday 22 May, Bernabeu, Madrid
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