The official website for European football

Inter's growing belief

Published: Tuesday 13 April 2010, 13.00CET
Before FC Internazionale Milano began their campaign against FC Barcelona, José Mourinho felt they had work to do but believes things have changed ahead of their semi-final rematch.
by Paolo Menicucci
from Milan
Inter's growing belief
Inter coach José Mourinho believes his side are a different proposition compared to earlier this season ©Getty Images

UEFA.com features

What teams need to get through
  • What teams need to get through
  • Watch the five best acrobatic Champions League goals
  • Ones to watch in the group stage
  • Masterclass: Xavi on passing and control
  • Newcomers ready for Champions League debuts
  • Cerci aims to join Italy's past leading lights in Spain
  • Talents out to shine in UEFA Champions League
  • Bulgarian keepers' best European displays
  • See your favourite Steaua moments
  • The rapid rise of Rúben Neves
1 of 10
 
 
Published: Tuesday 13 April 2010, 13.00CET

Inter's growing belief

Before FC Internazionale Milano began their campaign against FC Barcelona, José Mourinho felt they had work to do but believes things have changed ahead of their semi-final rematch.

Ahead of their opening UEFA Champions League group game against FC Barcelona in September, José Mourinho said his FC Internazionale Milano side were still "a work in progress". Now the Portuguese coach will have the chance to test the status of that toil when the two sides meet again in the semi-finals. One thing, however, has surely changed, as according to Mourinho, "now the mentality is right".

It is difficult to argue with that especially after comparing Inter's performances in the group and knockout stages this term. The Nerazzurri won only twice in Group F, fighting hard to hold the European champions to a goalless draw in Milan and losing 2-0 at the Camp Nou.

Ahead of the decisive pool game against FC Rubin Kazan and remembering recent disappointing campaigns in the competition, president Massimo Moratti told the players that "Europhobia was not an excuse" in case of another failure.

If Europhobia was the illness, Mourinho seems to have found the cure. The Nerazzurri have won all four knockout games since overcoming Rubin, two against Chelsea FC and two against PFC CSKA Moskva, to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2003. Defeating rampant Barcelona will probably require further improvements but Mourinho can look at the tie with confidence.

"Anything can happen in the semi-final or final, but the first foot Inter will put into this competition will certainly be full of confidence," he said after the win in Moscow. "If we don't win this year, Inter will win in a few years time because this is the path."

Inter have not lifted the European Champion Clubs' Cup since 1965 and Mourinho was appointed in 2008 as a replacement for Roberto Mancini, whose side had struggled in Europe despite winning three successive Serie A titles. Mourinho added another Scudetto to Inter's trophy cabinet during his first year in Milan but once again the Nerazzurri failed to go further than the last 16 in the UEFA Champions League.

It took longer than expected but now the side seem to have learnt the lesson, prompting Mourinho to say: "It's a total change from Inter's history in the Champions League in recent years." Inter, however, will need all their fresh confidence against Barcelona considering what the holders did to Arsenal FC in the quarter-finals, overwhelming their hosts in the first half of the opening leg.

"A part of their superiority was down to our inhibition at the start of the game," Arsène Wenger explained after the 2-2 draw in London which led the way to a 6-3 aggregate win for Barcelona. It was a statement not dissimilar to Mourinho's thoughts on that 2-0 defeat at Barça in the group stage. "I expected less fear from my players," he said.

However Dejan Stanković believes Inter will not make the same mistake this time. "It will be a hard-fought tie," the midfielder said. "We have worked hard on our mental approach to convince ourselves we are a great team. In the last few games we proved we are eager to go all the way. We don't have to fear Barcelona. Respect them, but not fear them."

Related Items
If we don't win this year, Inter will win in a few years time because this is the path
José Mourinho
We don't have to fear Barcelona. Respect them, but not fear them
Dejan Stanković
Last updated: 14/04/10 12.35CET

Related information

Player profiles
Member associations
Team profiles

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/news/newsid=1475946.html#inters+growing+belief

  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The CHAMPIONS LEAGUE and UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE words, the UEFA Champions League logo and trophy and the UEFA Champions League Final logos are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.