Mourinho backs United quintuple
Jose Mourinho backed Manchester United to go on to retain their UEFA Champions League and complete a clean sweep of five trophies this season. The Inter Milan manager claimed United had enjoyed more than their fair share of lucky breaks as they beat his side 2-0 to advance to the last eight. But he had no doubt about the English champions' ability to complete an unprecedented quintuple because of the way Sir Alex Ferguson's side have matured over the last two seasons.
"They have basically the same team as when I was at Chelsea," Mourinho said. "There is only Berbatov who is new. But they have been together for four or five years. They are not young anymore - the age average is 26-27 if you forget Giggs and Scholes. They are in the right moment to be at the top of their careers. They reached the maximum level. They have experience, quality, great physical condition and intensity in their game. That is what the Champions League is about. So yes, I think they can do it (win five trophies)."
Despite his admiration for United, Mourinho felt his side would have run them closer but for the bad luck which resulted in both Zlatan Ibrahimovic's first-half header and a flying volley from Adriano coming back off the woodwork. "You have to say that United deserved to win," Mourinho said. "They scored two goals over the course of the two games and we have to accept that, in football, the team that wins always deserves it. But I don't think we should be negative about my team's display. We played a great match against a great team. We just lacked that little bit of luck you need to win, that little thing that makes difference between winning and not winning.
"We went one down after couple of minutes but we had three chances to score in first half, more than our opponents, and we hit the bar from three metres out," the coach added. "In the second half we lost another goal but we continued to play and we showed great character.
"Always when you talk about luck it seems as if you are trying to forget about the quality of the opponent," he went on. "That's not true (for me). United are a quality team and they showed exactly why they are European champions. But not all defeats are the same. The players came here with no psychological barriers, they played a great game and I hope they have the same feeling. Tomorrow we will be back in training. We have not been good enough to win the Champions League but we are good enough to win the Scudetto and I'm sure we will go on and win it."
Meanwhile Ferguson had kind words for Inter after the final whistle. "Inter showed fantastic experience at times and showed they were difficult to break down. It was a great result for us but not a great performance. It was the hardest draw for us." Goalscorer Ronaldo was predictably pleased with the result, claiming: "When we scored at 2-0 we killed the game and I think we deserved to win at the end of the day."