Mourinho buoyed by Inter's Euro form
Jose Mourinho claimed his team had buried their UEFA Champions League demons as they won for the first time in the knockout stages since 2005/06 with a 2-1 success against Chelsea on Wednesday in their last 16 first leg clash.
Inter as a club had developed a European complex as time and again they flattered to deceive at the business end of the competition despite establishing hegemony in domestic matters. But Mourinho said this win against the European powerhouses from west London would make that a thing of the past.
"We showed we're a team worthy of the Champions League," he said. "If we were playing in the Europa League we'd be among the favourites but it's different in the Champions League. Chelsea are a team of great quality and we won because we played with heart. We're a team with different qualities (from last season) with Lucio who can compete with the likes of (Didier) Drogba in the air."
And he insisted that it was vital to take a lead to the second leg on 16 March, having drawn 0-0 at home to Manchester United last season before losing 2-0 at Old Trafford. "The most important thing is the result which puts us ahead. It's not a result that puts the tie to bed like a 3-0 or 4-0 but at this stage all the games are tight and finished either in a draw or with a one goal advantage.
"I expected a close result and I don't think anyone thought it would finish 4-0. I think playing at home first is always very difficult. In the last few years we played Man United, Liverpool, Valencia and Villarreal. It was always difficult and we never took a win to the away leg. This is a different situation now, we're ahead and Chelsea are behind.
"Of course they can turn it around but we think we can win this and that's important for us. Last year we lost 2-0 at Manchester but we had great chances, I think we hit the woodwork three times and that's why we didn't score an away goal."
The Portuguese boss admitted it will be emotional at Stamford Bridge but said that as a coach he has an enviable record there. "I will have to control my emotions, I will have to be professional like I was today, like the Chelsea players were today.
"In the tunnel it wasn't a normal game for me or for them but when the game starts it becomes normal, I want to win, they want to win. At Stamford Bridge I don't want anything other than people to be pleased to see me back because we had so many happy times together. This time I will go back to a different dressing room and a different dugout and I know that Mourinho is normally lucky at Stamford Bridge."
Inter took an early lead on three minutes through Diego Milito before Salomon Kalou equalised just after the hour mark. But only a few minutes later Esteban Cambiasso hit a rasping winner to leave Inter in the driving seat.
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti did not seem too upset by the way things had gone, despite his side being denied what looked a good shout for a first half penalty when Kalou fell under a Walter Samuel challenge. "We played really well, in the second half Inter changed their system a bit, we were too relaxed for a while but then started playing again and played right to the end," he said before commenting on the injury that forced goalkeeper Peter Cech to leave the field.
"Cech had an injury on his calf, we have to wait and see what his condition will be in the next few days, now I can't say when he will return to the squad. The early goal was not due to being under pressure, it was because we gave away space in a dangerous position to Milito and he scored."