BARCELONA - Jose Mourinho is by his own
admission a bad loser but after Wednesday's reverse at Barcelona
put Inter Milan in the Champions League final he described it as
"the sweetest 1-0 defeat of my life".
The Serie A champions survived for more than an hour with 10
men, following defender Thiago Motta's red card, and only
conceded a goal by Gerard Pique six minutes from time as they
went through to next month's final in Madrid 3-2 on aggregate.
VIDEO: Watch Mourinho's full-time celebrations
"It was incredibly tense today, against a team such as
Barcelona, with 10 men, it was something historical, mythical,"
a strangely subdued Mourinho told a news conference.
"It was the sweetest 1-0 defeat of my life but the players
out there didn't deserve to lose. We were perfect tactically and
"We showed great discipline," he added. "We worked very hard
to deny them space."
Inter reaching their first European Cup final since 1972 had
the Portuguese showman's fingerprints all over it.
From the pre-match news conferences to the jubilant
celebrations at the final whistle, Mourinho's presence was all
pervading in Barcelona.
He was forced to make a last-minute change before kickoff
when Goran Pandev withdrew through injury and Cristian Chivu
"The game started badly. Bringing Chivu on made us more
defensive but the game went as we thought," said Mourinho.
"It was much harder with 10 men because Barcelona are the
best team in the world at circulating the ball but we kept them
away from our goal."
Mourinho wound up the home fans before the first whistle,
casually strolling out into the centre of the pitch, hands in
pockets, looking every inch a man enjoying an amble in the
countryside before the teams came out to warm up.
The cacophony of whistles appeared to egg him on, his
histrionics on the touchline constantly catching the attention
of the cameras.
Motta's sending off after 28 minutes had him laughing
ironically, rolling his eyes, arms outstretched.
He dashed out of his technical area to give an instruction
to one of his players in the second half, bringing the game to a
stop as the referee issued the coach a warning.
TUSSLE ON PITCH
Near the end Mourinho was pointing and gesticulating at the
Barca bench, having a heated exchange of opinion.
At the final whistle he sprinted not towards his players but
across to where the Inter fans were massed in the top tiers of
the stand on the far side of the pitch, waving his arms.
Mourinho ended up having a tussle with Barca goalkeeper
Victor Valdes, with security guards parting the pair.
"I think a team who win everything don't know how to lose.
They are bad losers and so am I," Mourinho said.
"Valdes thought I was provoking the home fans. I was going
to celebrate with my fans. It's my right."
Asked if he would ever go back to Barcelona, where he once
worked as an assistant to Bobby Robson and Louis van Gaal, he
said: "A coach would be stupid to say no to Barcelona.
"But it's difficult to turn hate into love," he added
referring to the treatment he received from the home fans.
With a final next month against a Bayern Munich team managed
by his former mentor Van Gaal, Mourinho was full of respect.
"Bayern are a great team with a great coach," he said. "They
are an example for many clubs. They stood by Van Gaal when they
had a bad start and now they are in a final."
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