José Mourinho was left to rue the realisation of his pre-match prophesy that FC Internazionale Milano would come back to earth with a bump against Panathinaikos FC, but was keen to highlight more positive portents.
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José Mourinho was left to rue the realisation of his pre-match prophesy that FC Internazionale Milano would come back to earth with a bump against Panathinaikos FC after their weekend win at home to Juventus. He was keen to highlight more positive portents, however, drawing parrallels with FC Porto's 2003 UEFA Cup triumph as his side progressed despite a José Sarriegi goal that took Panathinaikos second in Group A. The Greek side will join Inter in the knockout rounds if they avoid defeat against Anorthosis Famagusta FC on Matchday 6, though coach Henk ten Cate is content to savour their Milan victory for now.
José Mourinho, Inter coach
After today's performance we don't deserve to go home relaxed having qualified – it would have been fairer if we had to travel to Bremen with pressure on the final day. We were lucky to go through after what was a just defeat. The coach is always responsible for defeats so I'm here to listen and accept all the criticisms. We were tired mentally and physically after the great performance against Juventus in Serie A. We relaxed a bit after that game. I never like to lose, not even when we've already gone through.
I don't think there's much difference between qualifying first and second in the group because teams like Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid can all finish second, but we will go to Bremen to win. Panathinaikos defended very well, both in the first half when we tried to attack through the middle and in the second when we tried to attack via the flanks. They were better than us today; we were tired, lacking focus and confidence. In 2003 when I was at Porto we won 2-0 at Panathinaikos and lost 1-0 at home and we ended up winning the UEFA Cup.
Henk ten Cate, Panathinaikos coach
We have just finished a game against Inter at San Siro so I don't think it's time to start thinking about the last game in the group just yet. Normally after starting [a UEFA Champions league campaign] with two defeats it's game over, but I told my players there were still four games to play. We started to build this team in the summer and we are improving quickly, week after week, and play better as a team in Europe than we do in the domestic league.
If you are as organised as we were today then you can surprise many teams in Europe, even big ones like Inter. However, the most important thing is having the confidence to play your game away from home. We have begun to believe that we can win away and this is crucial for a team like ours. It was an important win and we had a great support from the 5,000 supporters that followed us to Milan – we should dedicate this win to them.