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Mourinho hails his 'team of heroes'

Euphoric José Mourinho said FC Internazionale Milano's long wait for a third European Champion Clubs' Cup will soon be over after a battling rearguard action ended FC Barcelona's defence.

Mourinho hails his 'team of heroes'
Mourinho hails his 'team of heroes' ©UEFA.com

A euphoric José Mourinho was left in awe after his FC Internazionale Milano side survived over an hour at FC Barcelona with ten men to go through to the UEFA Champions League final – an effort, he says, which warrants a welcome home party. The coach believes there is more to come now Inter have a "European dimension", predicting silverware is only a matter of time. Josep Guardiola's emotions were at the other end of the spectrum: sadness, disappointment, but also pride.

José Mourinho, Inter coach
My side are a team of heroes – the players left their blood on the pitch tonight. I want to compliment everybody, the ones who played and the ones who didn't, the fans who were here with us and the ones at home. On this amazing day I want to ask the supporters something, because it's time for us to have a party. I want them at the airport when we go back. I know it's tough because they will be at work tomorrow, but I ask them to come and wait for these lads.

I can only imagine how hard it was to reach this point. Against Barcelona it's difficult enough when you have 11 men so when you do it with ten it's making history. Júlio César was stunning; it was like playing with 11 men thanks to him. This is the best loss of my life. It is a shame I couldn't play: I would have been awful on the pitch but I would have shed blood as my players did.

I have won the Champions League before but tonight was even better because until the last minute I wasn't sure we would go through. This is bliss. To get here after playing Barcelona four times and Chelsea twice. If Inter don't win it this time they will do it next year – we have a European dimension now. I thought it was impossible to emulate the empathy I had with Chelsea fans, but I probably have an even better one with Inter supporters.

Josep Guardiola, Barcelona coach
The disappointment is huge. In semi-finals it all comes down to the tiny details. Last year things worked out in our favour, this time around it went against us. We tried our best but unfortunately we won't be going to Madrid; instead we must congratulate Inter for getting there. I don't know [who will win the final] – I'll be on my holidays by then.

I know we're Barça but when nine players are defending inside the opposition box it's not easy. Sometimes attacking seems a lot harder than defending. We tried, but they defended well. We won't be looking for excuses. Every player, every coach and every team plays how they want to and it's not for me to judge.

Overall we had a really good Champions League campaign; it was a success. I'll remember this day with a certain sadness; I feel bad we couldn't pull it off. I think that had they remained with 11 players on the pitch they would have played slightly differently. We tried to open them up in the second half but they were strong. I thought at the end we would do it but it wasn't possible. We're feeling pretty bad but we have to lift ourselves.

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