Inter boss Jose Mourinho enjoys Barcelona revenge
Mourinho celebrates a goal as Inter put Barcelona to the sword
Inter Milan boss Jose Mourinho accused Barcelona of having “short memories” after his side’s 3-1 Champions League semi-final first leg victory.
Barcelona felt aggrieved not to have won a penalty, but Mourinho pointed to last year’s semi-final when Chelsea had several appeals rejected against Barca.
“It’s a pity. A year ago Chelsea were crying and Barca were laughing with the referee,” said ex-Blues boss Mourinho.
“They laughed because he denied my Chelsea boys their rightful place.”
Barca full-back Daniel Alves found himself booked for diving in the second half after going down under a Wesley Sneijder challenge inside the box.
But Mourinho, who left Chelsea as manager in September 2007, had no sympathy for the club where he once worked as an interpreter for Sir Bobby Robson.
Of course it’s not ideal losing like this but we can still do it
Barca coach Pep Guardiola
Instead, he invoked memories of last season’s semi-final between Barca and Chelsea when Andres Iniesta’s spectacular injury-time strike denied the Blues a place in the final after referee Tom Ovrebo had turned down a string of penalty appeals.
“Barca went on to the final (last year) and went on to win everything,” said Mourinho. “The league, the Champions League, Super Cups, the Club World Cup, six trophies in total.
“I don’t feel that the referee influenced the outcome of this game, no. It’s a pity he gave an offside against [Inter’s] Diego Milito at the start when he was onside, but that’s all.”
Mourinho, whose team beat Chelsea earlier in the tournament, praised his side’s fighting spirit after they recovered from an early Pedro goal to stun the holders and make themselves favourites to reach the final in the Bernabeu in May.
“They were unbelievable, their character and mentality were incredible throughout,” added Mourinho, who could not resist pointing out how he has transformed Inter into a genuine force in the Champions League.
“It gives me great pride to say that we could go to Madrid to play the final or we will come home from Barcelona with our heads held high.
“We’ve beaten the best team in the world and now Inter are a great Champions League team. If we don’t win it this year, we’ll win it next year or in two years time. We’ll be in semi-finals and finals – we’ve changed.”
Barca coach Pep Guardiola refused to blame his side’s 14-hour coach journey – forced by the travel chaos resulting from the volcanic ash cloud – for the defeat and said the tie was still alive going into next week’s second leg at the Nou Camp.
“This can happen, especially when you’re playing in the semi-final of the Champions League and against Inter Milan,” said Guardiola.
“Of course it’s not ideal losing like this but we can still do it. The result is not good, we gave away too many balls, we can do better. This wasn’t our best game and Inter don’t make it easy for you to play.
“I know the players are tired but I’m not a medical expert and I can’t say how much the journey affected them.
“In Barcelona we will attack. We will put water on the pitch so the ball moves quicker, which they didn’t do here. We’ll see a good game, hopefully.”