Mourinho: Barça 'obsessed' with Madrid final
Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho claims that Barcelona have become carried away with the chance of winning the Champions League at the Bernabeu, the stadium of their arch-rivals Real Madrid.
The Italian side came out on top in the first-leg of the semi-final clash but the Barcelona team are convinced that they can overturn the 3-1 score line at the Nou Camp on Wednesday.
After their win against Xerez in La Liga at the weekend, the players wore t-shirts encouraging fans to back them ahead of the Inter match. From the start of this season's European campaign the ambition at the Catalan club has been greater than ever to win this tournament with the final in Madrid.
"We have a team of older players, with many over 30, and we hope that we will be able to cope with the atmosphere. It is one thing, though, to follow a dream and it is another to have an obsession. For Barça it is an obsession," said Mourinho, speaking at a packed pre-match press conference.
The Portuguese coach was in typically belligerent mood, refusing to speak in Spanish to journalists and playing on Barcelona's rivalry with Real Madrid. An indication of the high tensions was that Inter felt the need for a bodyguard to accompany Mourinho.
"A dream is more pure than an obsession, an obsession is more about pride. Barça achieved a dream winning the Champions League in Paris and Rome last year but this time it is more about Madrid and playing at the Santiago Bernabeu, this is an obsession," he continued. "I experienced what it is like here, I have won cups - against Betis in 1997 - at the Bernabeu, where everyone was wrapped in Catalan flags. I know what it is about, it is anti-Madridismo. It is an obsession.
"I can't say for me it is a personal dream [to win the Champions League] as I have won it before, but I want to win it for Inter as it is more than 40 years since they got to the final. If I can help Mr Moratti [the Inter president], if I can help the players and if I can contribute a little bit as coach to achieve this dream then I would be very happy," he said.
Gambling on Sneijder
Inter will be without the suspended Dejan Stankovic but it appears that Mourinho is ready to gamble on Wesley Sneijder who has a slight thigh strain. "We will see if he can play for 90 minutes as there is still a small problem. We have other important games in the league but I am ready to risk him as everything will be decided tomorrow," said Mourinho. "There are 90 minutes still to be played and history is full of comebacks, it is easy to score three quick goals especially for a side like Barça," said Mourinho.
A lot of pressure has been put on the referee ahead of the match with Barca players claiming they were unfairly muscled out of the game at the San Siro. Inter midfielder Thiago Motta turned the attack on the Barca players accusing them of cheating.
"This is a very important match and I suppose they [Barcelona] are doing what they can to win the game but we are relaxed. We will try and play clean football but we are accustomed to seeing Barca players diving and so we hope that the referee does his job well. It is not only Barça that need to worry," he said.