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Mourinho expects happy homecoming

Published: Thursday 25 February 2010
FC Internazionale Milano coach José Mourinho said that Chelsea FC's players "know I can be successful at Stamford Bridge" as he looked forward to taking a 2-1 first-leg lead to London.
by Richard Aikman & Paolo Menicucci
from Milan

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Match statistics


Goals scored2
Attempts on target3
Attempts off target3
Fouls committed14
Yellow cards2
Red cards0


Published: Thursday 25 February 2010

Mourinho expects happy homecoming

FC Internazionale Milano coach José Mourinho said that Chelsea FC's players "know I can be successful at Stamford Bridge" as he looked forward to taking a 2-1 first-leg lead to London.

FC Internazionale Milano coach José Mourinho is confident of emulating past success when he returns to Stamford Bridge on 16 March looking to defend a 2-1 lead in the second leg of his side's UEFA Champions League first knockout round tie against Chelsea FC.

The Portuguese coach enjoyed three trophy-laden seasons with the London club and admitted it was strange coming up against his old team at San Siro. The acid test now awaits him at Stamford Bridge with Mourinho expecting his current charges to prosper there too. "Even in the tunnel before going out on to the pitch it was clear it was not a normal game for me or the Chelsea players," Mourinho said.

"Now I will return to Stamford Bridge, but in a different dressing room and sitting on a different bench. I will go back home but I will control my emotions because I'm a professional and I just want to win. This is not the ideal result, but I'm happy and the Chelsea players know I can be successful at Stamford Bridge. Before the game I told my players Chelsea are not superior to us. Both sides can play better than they did, but it's hard to deal with pressure in such important games."

The Italian champions were knocked out by English opposition at this stage in each of the last two seasons, and Mourinho believes victory over Chelsea lays down a significant marker. "We have proved we are a big team in the UEFA Champions League as well," he said. "Inter had failed to win games at this stage in the last few years. Now we have an advantage, but it's only the first half and Chelsea will try to change the result at Stamford Bridge. We know it's not over, but we created a few chances to score at Manchester United last season and I'm sure we can do the same at Stamford Bridge."

Mourinho had Esteban Cambiasso to thank for the winning goal, the midfielder restoring Inter's advantage on 55 minutes with a clinical low strike from the edge of the area soon after Salomon Kalou's equaliser. "All goals come at crucial psychological moments," Argentinian international Cambiasso said. "Diego Milito's early goal showed we were going all out to win from the start.

"Their goal, coming straight after the break, could have taken the wind out of our sails, but then my goal came just at a time when we could have been reeling from their equaliser. Scoring felt great, particularly because of the timing of the goal. They had just scored and could have grown in confidence while we were suffering, so I'm happy I scored when I did. I'm not getting carried away, though, because there are still 90 minutes left."

The match was an open affair, with Didier Drogba hitting the bar on the quarter-hour mark and both goalkeepers forced into key saves, so Cambiasso was pleased to have secured a slight edge ahead of the return leg. "It was an even contest between two top teams who wanted to win," he said. "We have a narrow lead at half-time in a 180-minute match. Now we have to go to London to play the remaining 90 minutes and qualify for the quarter-finals."

Last updated: 27/11/12 10.23CET