Straight from the dark heart of Italy
Christmas came early for Jose Mourinho on Tuesday when he finally got what he always wanted: a press conference without the press.
There was a sparse gathering for what was the pre-game media gathering ahead of tonight’s Italian Cup tie with Livorno – not that anyone was interested in the game.
The majority of journalists had boycotted the Special One in protest at a reported fracas with one of their own after Sunday’s draw at Atalanta – and they sent one attack dog to tear into the defendant.
A bit of back story: Mourinho had just boarded the team coach for the trip back to Milan when he spotted journalist Andrea Ramazzotti hanging about nearby.
Believing that the Corriere dello Sport writer shouldn't be anywhere near his players, he got off the bus and fired off a volley of industrial language – something he does not deny.
Then, according to Ramazotti, Mourinho man-handled him – something the manager does deny.
Of course, it was just what the media and especially the dailies were waiting for: Mourinho Attacks Poor Defenceless Journo.
The problem was that Ramazzotti was doing nothing wrong, having been invited by Inter’s own press office to grab a few quotes off the players to then hand out to his colleagues.
A little more communication within the club could have averted what was by all reports an ugly incident, especially to those of a sensitive disposition.
The club have since apologised, although our fiery little fellow has refused to offer any glad tidings of great joy but claimed he would be happy to speak to Ramazzotti in private – although hopefully with a few witnesses present.
In the meantime, there's little chance of Mourinho jumping off the bus, despite studied editorials that he is trying to “manufacture” an escape from Italy.
This seems highly unlikely as long as Inter have a chance of winning the Champions League.
The domestic title looks on the cards again, what with AC Milan and Juventus contriving to lose whenever Inter slip up, as was the case at the weekend.
And, of course, he's the highest-paid coach in the world – and with Massimo Moratti having been forced into extending his deal to ward off Real Madrid, he would like some sort of return on his investment.
There's little or no chance that relations between Mourinho and the local press will ever be anything other than frosty, but if our man did up sticks and leave, they would be the first to miss him.
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