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Cool Carlo ready for Mourinho

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Phil McNulty | 16:20 UK time, Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Jose Mourinho will roll out the red carpet to welcome Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to Milan on Wednesday - whether the self-appointed "Special One" will afford Carlo Ancelotti the same privilege is another story.

Mourinho will be in touch with Abramovich via text before Inter Milan and Chelsea meet in the San Siro to ensure the Russian's every wish is met - apart from a place in the last eight of competition that is becoming an obssession for both clubs.

Ancelotti needs no assistance to find his way around Milan after five years and two European Cups as a player and nine years and two Champions League successes as coach of Inter's fiercest rivals - and Mourinho is unlikely to be in the mood to give it to him after the pair endured a fractious relationship in Serie A last season.

Mourinho, predictably and with the undisguised mischief that makes him so sorely missed in the Premier League, has already provided the vocal colour as a backdrop to the tie. And the great joy for Chelsea is that it will bounce off the impassive Ancelotti all day with supreme, even amused, indifference.

Jose MourinhoFormer Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday with the Italian champions

And, as he has proved by effectively calling on all Italy's neutrals to throw their weight behind Chelsea as part of an anti-Mourinho faction, Ancelotti is not above the odd verbal counter-punch himself.

Mourinho regards this meeting as the biggest day in the Champions League calendar so far this season. His reunion with Chelsea alone almost assures it, and there are so many sub-plots to back his claim.

Ancelotti and Mourinho made no secret of their lack of friendship when they locked horns last season, with Inter coming out on top by winning the title, but they are united by a common purpose over the two legs of this intriguing tie.

Serie A titles are second nature to Inter, but Europe's greater prize has eluded this proud club since 1965, and Mourinho's main task is to fill that gap in the trophy room.

Ancelotti would be lauded if he won the Premier League this season, but he might find even greater gratitude coming his way from Abramovich should he win the Champions League.

Abramovich's attempts to bring the trophy to Stamford Bridge have so far been fated to failure, either by ill fortune or the foibles of Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo in last season's semi-final against Barcelona. Players and coaches have been changed, huge cheques signed and still no Champions League.

Ancelotti's players feel they have a real opportunity this season, although frailties on their travels will pose a threat to their attempts to claim the trophy if repeated against the sort of opposition they face now.

The atmosphere inside the San Siro will be stoked by Mourinho, although he insists he will take no special pleasure from beating Chelsea and would not expect any of his former players to take added delight in defeating him.

Mourinho's last assignment in England saw him standing defiantly on the touchline at Old Trafford as Inter lost to Manchester United at this stage of the Champions League last season, serenaded with the words "You're Not Special Any More."

He was - it was just that the Inter team he inherited wasn't. The pure box office of the man was illustrated by what became, quite literally in my case, a scrum and a race with three photographers just to claim a seat in Old Trafford's media theatre to hear his verdict.

Mourinho will know the eyes of Europe will be on him in these two meetings with the club where he is correctly idolised for his brilliant work - which is just how he likes it. He will preen and grandstand for the cameras, safe in the knowledge his every move is being monitored. It is why those of us who saw him operate at close quarters wait for the day when he brings his potent cocktail of charisma and controversy back to the Premier League.

He will also want Ancelotti to hear the adulation that will be showered upon him at Stamford Bridge in the second leg, and this season his Inter team looks built a little bit more in Mourinho's own formidable image and likeness.

Ancelotti, in contrast, will play it as cool as ever, laconically raising his eyebrow in the face of Mourinho's verbal jabs, planning quietly to keep his old adversary waiting another year to win the trophy he claimed with Porto in 2004.

And in this instance, the fact the Mourinho built so much of his current team for him might work to Ancelotti's advantage. Sure, Mourinho will know the weakness and work on them - Chelsea's struggles at set pieces this season being an obvious area of potential exploitation - but he will also know the strengths, and there are far more of those.

ca_afp595.jpgChelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti sees his side start as favourites

Mourinho will study the spine of Chelsea's team, and it will be instantly, ominously, recognisable. Petr Cech, John Terry, Ricardo Carvalho, Frank Lampard and finally Didier Drogba - the powerhouse who poses the biggest threat to his plans.

And, as Cech so rightly pointed out, Chelsea are so familiar with Mourinho's mind games that there is not a set of players in the world better equipped to disregard them completely.

Chelsea start as favourites, despite the air of invincibility restored by Guus Hiddink disappearing on occasions under Ancelotti, but Mourinho's mere presence is a threat.

He is the arch-stategist and consumate plotter, just letting little hints slip that he knows where Chelsea might be vulnerable, letting it be known that he feels they might not be as strong as they once were.

And in bringing in Samuel Eto'o, Diego Milito and the rejuvenated Wesley Sneijder, Mourinho has shaped an impressive renewal of Inter. Zlatan Ibrahimovic's sale to Barcelona has hardly had cataclysmic consequences.

If Mourinho knows Chelsea's strengths, they also know his, namely attention to the minutest tactical detail and a proven ability to produce teams that are fiendishly difficult to beat, even with the sort of numerical disadvantages they have suffered against AC Milan and Sampdoria in recent weeks.

But Chelsea will fancy their chances of progress over two legs. And for all the trademark bluster from Mourinho, he will know that Ancelotti possesses the weapons to bring Inter down.

After all, he left so much of the firepower behind for him.

You can follow me throughout this season at twitter.com/philmcnulty and join me on Facebook.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Abramovich's attempts to bring the trophy to Stamford Bridge have so far been fated to failure, either by ill fortune or the foibles of Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo in last season's semi-final against Barcelona.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Phil, this gets a bit boring after a while, yes Ovrebo had a howler, but to suggest that this alone was the downfall of Chelsea that night is ignorant of the fact they didnt defend for the whole game as they should have-otherwise Iniesta wouldnt have scored the goal to send them out would he?

    Its annoying when pundits feel the need to slate the officials when at the end of the day he is only a small part of the game. If Chelsea or another team cant find the net for various reasons they only have themselves to blame-granted a penalty decision in their favour can be the difference, but again if they had defended properly they would have went through-they didnt Iniesta scored and they went out, to arguably one of the greatest Barcelona teams ever.

    Add this to the fact they defended ten men behind the ball in the Camp Nou in the first leg, some would also state they didnt deserve to go through-instead of looking at Ovrebo in the second leg, why didnt you mention the fact Chelsea didnt try to take the game to Barca in the first leg-if they had they may have scored the goal that would have ultimatley taken then through.

  • Comment number 3.

    I thought you wrote blogs after not before matches Phil?

    Anyway

    "Mourinho, predictably and with the undisguised mischief that makes him so sorely missed in the Premier League"

    I disagree, this sentance should read

    "Mourinho, predictably and with the undisguised mischief that makes him so sorely missed by the media"

    The media loved his antics because it sells papers, and provides a great story for hacks to get their teeth into, a lot of the public got sick of hearing about him, got sick of his arrogance, his attitude that he was the team, the fact that he is feted as a genius for one great success bolsted by a few league titles bought with russian cash.

    The very fact you are blogging pre-match shows that you want to hype him up even more, never has a mans flaws been glossed over so much because he creates great soundbites!

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    Chelsea have to tread carefully. Inter are a better team this season than last. Away goal/s will be vital but Chelsea should shade it.

  • Comment number 6.

    #2

    There is a simple reason for what happens, you see the Brits in general and the media in particular can't bare the fact that the constant line that the PL is the best league in the world is so often proved to be wrong. The media to defend their earlier opinions focus on the ref, the majority of the fans of said team believe it (my chelsea supporting co-worker still thinks that UEFA told the ref to make sure Chelsea didn't go through!) and the story is repeated till everyone concerned actually believes it!

  • Comment number 7.

    Decent blog. Its a real contest between these 2 powerhouses. I would rather Chelsea nick it though for the simple fact that they will have an increased workload and may cause them to drop more points in the EPL

  • Comment number 8.

    Does anyone else expect this to be a dull game? both set up not to give anything away!
    I expect Drogba to batter the inter back line but think this will be a close one!!

  • Comment number 9.

    Meh... an okay read I suppose... could have read countless other articles of better quality about the buildup to this match but like I said, meh...

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    They'll probably screw it up away from home .... Chelsea players do have form in this after all ;)

  • Comment number 12.

    Phil you mentioned many journalist's missing Mourinho's presence in the EPL. Do you think that Mourinho will be the next Man Utd manager? As a United fan I have mixed feelings about this, he undoubtedly would have the confidence and ability to handle the pressure but would he respect United's attacking philosophy?

    On to the match, I have a feeling Inter are going to win this one!

  • Comment number 13.

    Didier Drogba has been Europe's most consistent performer for the past 3 to 4 seasons. He has performed even better than Wayne Rooney this season. Fact.

  • Comment number 14.

    I will be surprised if Chelsea don't come through this tie reasonably comfortably. For all the hype and palaver the media like to create, Mourinho (his one success apart) has flattered to deceive on the European stage.

    I read a quote in one of the papers ( i cant remember which one, as they all seem to be giving Mourinho double page spreads) in which Mourinho named the Chelsea team and referred to them as "his boys", even though Ranieri was the man who signed a lot of them.

    I agree with post 3, its the media who love the pantomime and drama that come with Mourinho, by the time he left last time the majority football fans in the country were glad to see him go.

    It's not about football when Mourinho is about, as this blog shows.



  • Comment number 15.

    13. At 7:24pm on 23 Feb 2010, tgtaxi wrote:

    Didier Drogba has been Europe's most consistent performer for the past 3 to 4 seasons. He has performed even better than Wayne Rooney this season. Fact.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Even Mr Mcnulty has to admit after that wolves double, Drogba has performed better than rooney this season. Fabregas has been better aswell becasue of his goals ( lets not forget he is a midfielder) and more assists.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm just hoping to see a good game and nothing less than a 2-1 win to inter, just my own thoughts, Although chelsea seem to lust for that last trophey that has some far got away from them. So will chelsea go for it? or try and over stretch the team in the PL as well? only time will tell but its getting good!

  • Comment number 18.

    Oh dear another bitter and jealous Jock.

    "they didn't defend for the whole game as they should have-otherwise Iniesta wouldn't have scored the goal to send them out would he?"

    Chelsea managed to keep the most prolific attack in Europe at bay for 180 minutes. Barce scored with their only shot of the game and most people who understand football acknowledged it as a masterpiece of defending over two legs.

    "Its annoying when pundits feel the need to slate the officials when at the end of the day he is only a small part of the game."

    The ref is not a small part of the game, especially when he fails to give 3 obvious penalties.

    "they defended ten men behind the ball in the Camp Nou in the first leg, some would also state they didnt deserve to go through-instead of looking at Ovrebo in the second leg, why didnt you mention the fact Chelsea didnt try to take the game to Barca in the first leg-if they had they may have scored the goal that would have ultimately taken then through."

    Chelsea had 3 good chances at the Nou Camp, which was 2 more than Barca had at the Bridge, does that make them worthy winners by your criteria. The game is about defending as well as attacking.

  • Comment number 19.

    #8
    the PL IS the best league in the world in the past 5 years there have been at least one english team in the final and 3 english teams in the semis in the past 2, so how u can say the PL isnt the best league in the world is beyond me. Also how can u say that the ovrebo decisions were not the main reason we chelsea did not qualify for the CL final? 4 penalty claims all our way and not one given! 2 were definate penalties so yes you could say that the ref was a major factor in us not reaching the final.

  • Comment number 20.

    Mourinho is a pantomime character. Im surprised at the number of media people that mistake this for genuine charisma and class.

    In Italy they know how to spot class. Managers who congraulate opponents first, respect their opponents and avoid the general clown antics of a guy like Mourinho which is why his relationship with the media over there is less than popular. Look at the conduct of Mancini, Ancellotti, Capello, Trappatoni, Hodgson, Leonardo etc.

    Mourinho is nowhere near the same class as these guys even if he is a top manager. Its just the media and Chelsea fans that love him. He moans about refs and injustice more than Warnock, Ferguson and Wenger combined. This ego stroking peice of writing is proof if ever you needed it that he has the English media eating out of his hand.

  • Comment number 21.

    Im a chelsea fan and still have great respect for Jose.Yes he
    needed millions from abramovitch to beat utd to the title 05 &06
    but so be it!,thats what was required;i make no excuses,if we had
    performed better in 07 we would have won 3 EPL's in a row.
    Carlos Ancelotti has got the credentials to take Chelsea to Cl finals and EPL,
    but this is where you start earning you pludits or fall on your sword.
    This has the makings of the tie of the round,i for one hope Chelsea can
    sneak through and bag utd in the QF.
    Revenge is a dish best served cold

  • Comment number 22.

    Any chance in such comprehensive opinion pieces we could have something so simple as correct reference to Inter's home? They dont play at San Siro, they play at the stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

  • Comment number 23.


    The English media will always LOVE TO HATE the likes of Mourinho or even Ronaldo because they so good at what they do.

    There is no doubt that they play their game wisely, after all many in England are typical sun readers. (Not all)

    As a matter of fact he trains Porto, wins 2 championships. The Uefa Cup and Champions League back to back, then comes to England wins the Premier League (first season) and repeats the feat. Trains Inter wins the league and is currently in the lead.

    So did he have a unlimited budget at Porto. No! But he was a success.

    Did Ranieri Chelsea win the league? No! Mourinho training Chelsea won 2!

    Yes Mancini won 3 Italian leagues and Mourinho...

    But because it so difficult to fault his SUCCESS, the media chooses to ridicule him.

    The self proclaimed SPECIAL ONE...is the only way that MANY, can feel good about themselves and therefore ridicule him.

    Can you speak Portuguese or Italian as fluently as he can?

    Let me guess??? Who needs to, English is international language.

    I hope Inter wins.








  • Comment number 24.


    "Did Ranieri Chelsea win the league? No! Mourinho training Chelsea won 2!"

    Ranieri may not have won the league but the team he put together did.
    Ranieri signed Robben and Cech before he left.
    Mourinho made a couple of good signings for Chelsea but as a rule his transfer dealings were poor at Chelsea. He says it was and still is his team, but the only regular players he brought to the club were Drogba, Essien and Carvalho.
    He wasted a fortune on poor players, left the club in 7th place in the league and in danger of not qualifying from the group stage of the Champions league. The dressing room was split and everyone hated the club because of his antics and the team played boring but effective football.

    He may have done a great job at Porto, but he really wasn't that special at Chelsea. The two title wins he inherited from Ranieri and he failed to get us to the CL final, wasted a fortune and left the club in disarray.

  • Comment number 25.

    To anyone commenting on phils reference to last years semi final

    As much as I agree with the notion of the english media wanting to preserve the 'best in the world' status of the EPL, and the rather annoying tendency to herk on about the same points all the time....
    And as someone who was rooting for barca all the way to the final....

    That was far beyond a bad night for Ovrebo, beyond a blunder, beyond a howler right into the territory of by far the worst refereeing performance I have ever seen.

    Although I dont think there was any foul play the man managed to (justifiably) bring into contention the sanctity of the entire Uefa governing body in just 90 minutes, quite a feat.

    To be honest im glad he did cos chelsea annoy the sheet out of me.
    I dont often comment, and that was a bit of a rant but the knee jerk moan about the blog really annoyed me in this case

    Rant over

  • Comment number 26.

    To be fair chucksavage7, I'm not so sure if you can even speak English at all, let alone Portuguese or Italian. And you would expect Mourinho to be able to speak Portuguese seeing as he's from Portugal you numpty
    Rooney has had a far better season than Drogba,

  • Comment number 27.

    Mancity has spent more millions than you. Now if mancini or whoever will follow even win the league in next 5years then i'll believe that he's not special. Its ridiculous if,being a chelsea fan you don't have respect for him. Yes he spent but isn't it his spendings that have made chelsea what they are rather than ranieri?He was the one who delivered that thing you hadn't been able to get a hand on for 50 years.
    Being able to spend is a privilege but not a guarantee to success..Much more so in football coz you can buy good players and managers but you can't buy what happens on the field.It a manager who forecasts,plans,explains and sends out his trainees to deliver it for him.
    As for the tie,i'd love to see inter win but i have my fears.

  • Comment number 28.

    Typical McNulty simplify the whole thing down to a clash between two personalities. Never mind a proper pre-match analysis - like, who do you reckon is going to try and stop Drogba, Lucio on his own (you do know Lucio, right? the Brazil defender) or will Mourinho put two men on him? Who is going to win the midfield battle - do you even know who plays in midfield for Inter Philip? What about the keeper, will Chelsea change tactics if Toldo plays instead of Julio Cesar (you do know he's just had a car accident, right?) Etc

    I'd expect more from the BBC Sport's chief football writer, I know you are trying to keep it simple, but this was just a fluff piece for twelve years olds.

  • Comment number 29.

    22. At 9:10pm on 23 Feb 2010, bum_chinned_crab wrote:

    Any chance in such comprehensive opinion pieces we could have something so simple as correct reference to Inter's home? They dont play at San Siro, they play at the stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

    --------------------------------------------
    You're right. But rightly or wrongly their stadium is known as the San Siro by most football fans in the UK, so to use this accepted shorthand in a blog aimed largely at football fans in the UK is preferable, I think, to using the lesser-known, if technically correct, official name.

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 31.

    22. At 9:10pm on 23 Feb 2010, bum_chinned_crab wrote:
    Any chance in such comprehensive opinion pieces we could have something so simple as correct reference to Inter's home? They dont play at San Siro, they play at the stadio Giuseppe Meazza.
    _____________________________________

    You are absolutely right. In fact i am amazed that this made it to the blog as Mr McNulty has a tendancy to remove such posts that show him up for his lack of actual football knowledge outside of the UK.

    Seconds to post being removed 5..4..3..2..1.......

  • Comment number 32.

    Mourinho is a genius and he just knows everything about the players of chelsea and how to tackle thier weakness. Ancelotti is returning to san siro and he knows how to handle crowd and media. We can say on and on.But one result is certain if inter fail Mourinho is kicked out.. if ancelotti fails to guide chelsea this year.he will be certain about his departure. I think Mourinho needs to win this because this is the toughest test and Inter need to prove now or it will never happen and Inter are the only quality club representing Italy. I predict inter will win Phil because I think Mourinho is a winner and He wont allow his side to beaten up at this stage again and he knows how to do it now and he has got players who can do it in champions league than the other years. So,I am sure Inter to win at home and draw at chelsea and Balotelli will be the highlight but scores I am not sure.

  • Comment number 33.

    Mourinho is too good of a manager to be beaten up again at this stage.He will win I am sure. and he will be the special one who will deliver champions league to inter PHIL.Ancellotti has weapons. but Mourinho too in likes of sneijder, Eto,Milito, Pandev,ZANETTI,MAICON AND MANY and Please dont Underestimate the SPECIAL ONE

  • Comment number 34.

    phil, you're acting as if whoever 'wins' the mind games will be going through to the quarters. suppose it's better than reading your football analysis though.

  • Comment number 35.

    Fabregas and Drogba better than Rooney? Is it April 1 already?

    I think Mourinho might have one over on Chelsea here. He's got the experience of having managed them and, even more decisively, the referee most likely in his back pocket.

    But seriously, Inter are a better side than Chelsea currently who just aren't making the most of their chances.

  • Comment number 36.

    Will some of you guys please pull your heads in a little regarding Phil's blogs.
    If you don't like them...don't bloody read them.
    It seems that some of you only read the blog so that you can then post your vitriole towards the author and the media, and I bet some of you post before you read.
    Phil is simply blogging about something that he has an opinion on...that's what a blog is all about you numpties, and he is as entitled to his opinion as you without the abuse he receives. If you want hardcore match analysis, news and punditry then don't read a blog. Do you expect Robbo to tell you how teams are going to line up and play?
    As someone who left the UK 5 years ago because my Ozzie wife wanted to go home, I rely on the BBC and their excellent journalism to catch up on all things from back home.
    And for what it's worth, I agree with Phil that the PL is poorer for the loss of Mourinho...we haven't had a character like that since the great Brian Clough.
    Mourinho is completely aware that he is a bit of a cartoon character and it's an image he's cultivated.
    Say what you like about him, you feel passionately about him one way or the other and that's his stroke of psychological genius.
    Rant over! :)

  • Comment number 37.

    15. At 7:36pm on 23 Feb 2010, verminator_5 wrote:
    13. At 7:24pm on 23 Feb 2010, tgtaxi wrote:

    Didier Drogba has been Europe's most consistent performer for the past 3 to 4 seasons. He has performed even better than Wayne Rooney this season. Fact.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Even Mr Mcnulty has to admit after that wolves double, Drogba has performed better than rooney this season. Fabregas has been better aswell becasue of his goals ( lets not forget he is a midfielder) and more assists.

    -------------

    You guys need to wait the Man Utd vs Chelsea or Man Utd vs Arsenal blog come before you can post your comments..

    Anyway Rooney was scoring 2 more goals last night, did you guys see that?

    wait.. He is a on top of goal scorer list now I guess.. let me check for you guys..

    :))

  • Comment number 38.

    The anti-McNulty vitriol in these comments is getting rather excessive.

    That said, the match preview could've done with a look at where the key flashpoints will be... as it is, the blog is nothing more than a frame for the post-match comment on who won the tactical battle.

    Hopefully the post-match blog will be about where the tactical battle was won and lost...

  • Comment number 39.

    I dont get the obsession the media have here with Mourinho still. In Italy, he is having such a negative impact on the game, constantly whining and bullying any referee who dares to make a decision against his team and generally turning as many people as he can against an otherwise likeable Inter squad.

    The truth is, Mourinho did inherit a great squad from Mancini, and if anything, the players that Mourinho signed when he first joined all turned out to be flops or not very good, ie. Quaresma and Muntari.

    Granted for this season he'd made some great signings, but I think to claim that he was shackled by his team in his loss to Man Utd is wrong.

    He's going to run out of excuses for why he's not at least making Inter look capable of winning the Champions League (in the Group Stages this year again Inter were poor) - I do hope he knocks Chelsea out but I wouldnt be surprised if we see a truly terrible game which Chelsea edge 1-0 with a deflected Frank Lampard goal.

  • Comment number 40.

    Chelsea will win each leg 1-0. I hope!

  • Comment number 41.

    If Inter win will RA of JM his job back???

  • Comment number 42.

    I agree with all this hype about Mourinho and how he has never lost a home match since 2002, but this match will be about Drogba. He has on a devastating run if he's not marked properly at San Siro, Chelsea could surely come back with the spoils.

  • Comment number 43.

    38. At 05:58am on 24 Feb 2010, Erdles wrote:
    The anti-McNulty vitriol in these comments is getting rather excessive.

    That said, the match preview could've done with a look at where the key flashpoints will be... as it is, the blog is nothing more than a frame for the post-match comment on who won the tactical battle.

    Hopefully the post-match blog will be about where the tactical battle was won and lost...


    You'll be lucky mate it will be tosh like it normally is!!!

  • Comment number 44.

    By the way under the photo of Mourinho it states

    "Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday with the Italian champions"

    Well they will be bloody lonely because everybody else will be at the San Siro!!!!

  • Comment number 45.

    #37. Rooney may be top of scorers list (at the moment), but if you take out:

    a) The penalties (4)
    b) The goals in January whilst Drogba was away at ACoN (7)

    You find Rooney way, way behind Drogba. A better measure on form would be goals per game with Drogba on 0.86 with Rooney only on 0.77. Don't get me wrong, Rooney is a good player and, maybe, will become a great one in time, but Drogba is the more consistent striker.

  • Comment number 46.

    "Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday with the Italian champions"....whoever writes the photo captions obviously doesn't read the fixture list!!!

  • Comment number 47.

    N° 23 asks "Can you speak Portuguese or Italian as fluently as he can?".

    I guess that being Portuguese could be one reason why Mourinho speaks that language so fluently !!

    Anyway this blog does not ridicule Mourinho, it (wrongly in my opinion) eugolises him.

  • Comment number 48.

    Dirs, why don't you spell check your blogs before you post them? Are we not worth it?

  • Comment number 49.

    "Mourinho regards this meeting as the biggest day in the Champions League calendar so far this season. His reunion with Chelsea alone almost assures it, and there are so many sub-plots to back his claim"
    -----------------------
    Talk about stating the obvious, it's a knock out competition now so OF COURSE it's the biggest day in the football calendar for him. DUH!.
    I have never in my life read such psychopantic worship. Murhinio is a good manager and an arrogant so and so. Ferguson is a very good Manager. The fact that Man United have won titles even when playing badly for most of the season, last year for example, Shows up the lack of ability in the other managers in the league. Murhino is the only one in recent times to get close, oh and perhaps Avram Grant. If you take off your rose tinted spectacles, and hero worship you will see he is not all that. As for running like school children to get a seat, couldn't you stand for a press conference? Could we perhaps have an analysis of the teams that might play and the merits of each player in each position? Please? Sorry If I am harsh I just don't believe in hero worship.

  • Comment number 50.

    48. At 08:51am on 24 Feb 2010, Black Benzino wrote:
    Dirs, why don't you spell check your blogs before you post them? Are we not worth it?
    --------------------

    Get down off your high horse - you even got the author wrong!

  • Comment number 51.

    [Personal details removed by Moderator]as for number 22, complaining about the name of the stadium..........

    Stadio San Siro
    STADIUM INFORMATION
    Official Name: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza
    Inauguration: 19 September 1926
    First match: AC Milan-Inter 3-6
    Renovations: 1955 & 1990
    Capacity: 85,700 seats
    VIP seats: 5,200 seats

    look it up on stadium guide dot com... more duh!
    Press seats: 200 seats
    Turnstiles: 51
    Pitch dimensions: 105*68m
    Floodlights: 3,600 lux
    Address: Via Piccolomini 5, 20151 Milan (view map)
    CLUB INFORMATION
    Club: AC Milan
    Inauguration: 1899
    Club colours: Red & Black
    Postal address:
    [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 52.

    45. At 08:43am on 24 Feb 2010, Sciatika wrote:
    #37. Rooney may be top of scorers list (at the moment), but if you take out:

    a) The penalties (4)
    b) The goals in January whilst Drogba was away at ACoN (7)

    You find Rooney way, way behind Drogba. A better measure on form would be goals per game with Drogba on 0.86 with Rooney only on 0.77. Don't get me wrong, Rooney is a good player and, maybe, will become a great one in time, but Drogba is the more consistent striker.


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hilarious, lets take out the goals scored from the left hand side of the box, oh and those scored from free kicks too, and those scored when he was wearing white, you will find then that Rooney is completely kak. Add that to the Goals Drogba might score if Chelsea were still included in all competions and that he possibly gets a hatrick every game, then yes Drogba is the more consitent striker...ha ahahahahahahaa oh my god it hurts

  • Comment number 53.

    Italy see Jose like some of us in England, monotonous, argumentative and dull maybe even petty and i'm not even talking about Mourinho's football.

    He had evreyone in a spell in England hanging off his words, but like you say phil, sadly Jose's team he inherited was not as good as the one he inherited from Claudio Ranieri. They are still lacking some peices and even for a Mourinho team Inter lack creativity. But its still good enough considering, inept performances from Juve despite spending the cash, changes at Roma and AC Milan's progressive slowing down.

    As for Inter, I think their slow buildup will allow easy more than enough time to get men behind the ball.

    I Think Lucio is good enough to handle Drogba, just think they have to pick up Malouda who loves to come deep and link the strikers. Lol i'm sure Jose has covered everything with this well drilled Inter team. Just hope Eto'o, Milito and Wes are sharp tonight.

    Hoping, somehow, for a good match!

  • Comment number 54.

    #37. Rooney may be top of scorers list (at the moment), but if you take out:

    a) The penalties (4)
    b) The goals in January whilst Drogba was away at ACoN (7)

    You find Rooney way, way behind Drogba. A better measure on form would be goals per game with Drogba on 0.86 with Rooney only on 0.77. Don't get me wrong, Rooney is a good player and, maybe, will become a great one in time, but Drogba is the more consistent striker.

    -----------------------------------------------------

    That is by far the most rubbish comment ive read today. Every Idiot Knows Rooney has done more than Drogba this season. While i dont think United are a one man team, Rooney has sometimes carried them on his own, single handedly winning games for them. Drogba in Contrast, as not been as much importance as Rooney is.

  • Comment number 55.

    I doubt the Italians are supporting Chelsea. No body respects a team that tries to bank roll itself to titles!

    I'll be supporting Inter Milan all the way, I expect them to give Chelsea a tough test.

  • Comment number 56.

    Mourinho missed?

    The guy whose post-match comments about one of the world's best referees after the Barcelona-Chelsea match led to the premature retirement of said referee due to death threats from Chelsea fans? (And it's not as if we're overrun with good referees, now is it?)

    Not by me, he isn't.

  • Comment number 57.

    55. At 09:13am on 24 Feb 2010, redmatrixsat wrote:
    I doubt the Italians are supporting Chelsea. No body respects a team that tries to bank roll itself to titles!

    I'll be supporting Inter Milan all the way, I expect them to give Chelsea a tough test
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Yeah that is why Berlusconi is president...........hah

  • Comment number 58.

    for anyone else doubting the research

    http://www.sansirotour.com/english/index.html

  • Comment number 59.

    This game has a draw written all over it. Chelsea will be happy if they come away with a scoredraw.

    Eto to score Milan and Anelka for Chelsea.

  • Comment number 60.

    #45. All I wanted to say was that this blog is not about Rooney or Man Utd. Or Fabregas?

    You can try to wind up Rooney, but find much proper place.

    Anyway, as for the game, I feel that Inter will win their home leg. If you guys following Serie A, Inter won 2 big matches (one of it was AC Milan, the other one I forgot) with 9 players! And They are yet to be beaten at home I guess.

  • Comment number 61.

    Chelsea should beat Inter Milan. Italian football is on the decline and we will comfortably win in Milan. However Mikel vs Wesley is where I am a bit concerned.

  • Comment number 62.

    Still bowing at the throne of Mourinho I see Phil.The man's a sham.Loved by hacks but despised by the rest of the footballing community.I glad he's won titles but that doesnt give him the right to be an oafish buffoon.Ancelotti?That's a winner with class!

  • Comment number 63.

    PHILIP YOU NEED TO HYPE THIS PRE-MATCH BLOG UP MUCH MORE!

    HYPE HYPE HYPE HYPE HYPE HYPE HYPE HYPE HYPE HYPE HYPE

  • Comment number 64.

    I think Inter have a huge advantage in Murhino, he knows the Chelsea players intimately, Ancellotti doesn't know the Milan players in the same way.
    I think Murhino 2: 1 Ancellotti.

  • Comment number 65.

    Am I the only one who's unhappy that the none of the replays from tonight in the world greatest domestic cup competition are being shown on any of the tv channels tonight, and instead the tv company that won the bids for it is instead showing this, which is pretty certain to be dull, while sky are instead showing a european game that I suspect no one in this country gives two hoots about.

  • Comment number 66.

    On tonights game, I think if Chelsea attack Milan, - they will reap the rewards. It is to easy to look at a goalless draw away from home in Europe as a good result. Think Man Utd (07/08)0-0 in Barcelona, and last season against Inter 0-0. Yes it leaves you with the scenario, if you win your home leg you progress, however and away goal in the second leg (Andres Iniesta anyone), and you need two to go through, - as Chelsea found out last year in controversial circumstances.


    Now to this who has been better this season Rooney or Drogba. We'll all agree on this, these two have been far the best, probably with Fabregas coming in third. Really what does it matter? What matters is who wins the title at the end of the season. People need to understand football isn't about individuals, it's the team as a whole.

    For debates sake however ask yourselves if the season finsihed now who would the award go to:

    The answer from 9 out of 10 of you would be Rooney.

    What has impressed me most about Rooney i how he has been able to sustain his form, and goalscoring for the whole of the season. Drogba, set off like a house on fire, but prior to Christmas, coincidentally or not so in my opinion when Chelsea hit a sticky patch, he had a bit of a slump in form, going 7 games (or so) without a goal, - which indicates his performance to Chelsea. Yes he is beginning to come into form again, but Rooney hasn't been out of form, - which is why in my opinion he gets the nod.

    Rooney is also part of a rare breed where you can rely on him to give everything, every game - without fail. Drogba can be very temperamental, when things are fine and dandy he is unplayable no doubt, but when things aren't going his way he can be a bit like Ronaldinho and start flapping his arms about, having a negative affect on the team on and off the pitch.

    Think Drogba and Ballack when they were fighting over who took a freekick, although in fairness to Drogba atleast he does something on the field.

    1-1 in the San Siro tonight!

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 68.

    #52/54 The fact remains that Drogba scores more goals per game than Rooney (including pens) and has been doing so consistently against all kinds of opposition all season. Rooney may have other things he brings to the Man Utd apart from goals, but Drogba is still the more consistent striker. I've no doubt that Rooney will probably get POTY, but that is more about bigging-up England's chances in SA that what has actually happened this season.

  • Comment number 69.

    Big big build up to this game - more so than the Beckham homecoming last week.

    I predict a tight defensive 0-0 at the San Siro and a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge. Inter to go through.

  • Comment number 70.

    #68 Rooney is top of the scoring charts.....so how come Drogba has more goals per game consistently? Unless he doesn't always get his game, therefore he can't be a better striker if he is not being played can he? You know just because you repeat a thing consistently doesn't actually mean it has weight, credence, or import, or that it's even true. You sound like Bush.... He has weapons of Mass Destruction.

  • Comment number 71.

    #52/54 The fact remains that Drogba scores more goals per game than Rooney (including pens) and has been doing so consistently against all kinds of opposition all season. Rooney may have other things he brings to the Man Utd apart from goals, but Drogba is still the more consistent striker. I've no doubt that Rooney will probably get POTY, but that is more about bigging-up England's chances in SA that what has actually happened this season.

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    No, If he wins it it will be because he deserves it. Full Stop

  • Comment number 72.

    This will be a very tight game. I hope Chelsea are strong at the back with all the defensive problems, especially at left back. The real difference should be about who wins the midfield battle; I would give lampard, ballack and Malouda a slight edge (phisically) but they should be wary of Sneijer. He's been by far their best player for a while, and I am a big zanetti fan, so he should be watched if he is placed in that area... Maicon will obviously give a lot of work to tonight's left back, but the crosses should be easy to deal with,eto'o and Milito not being real aerial threats to JT and Alex(or carvalho), if fit. On the other side, Drogba would not have the advantage against a big lad like Lucio,maybe faster but I doubt stronger, so I expect to see more of Anelka on the other side, and some magic from Joe would be welcome. Tight game indeed, and may the best team win. I would put my money on a draw... I expect each team to make at least a costly mistake, and then try to defend a small advantage,that would only help the opposing team to come back at them and draw.

  • Comment number 73.

    Drogba is in no way a batter player than Rooney. I reckon if you asked all the managers of the tops clubs in Europe which one they would prefer, then they would all opt for Rooney. That is not saying Drogba is a bad player, he is just not as good as Rooney.

    Back to the game though - i thought this was the toughest of the games for the English teams when the draw was made, and the confidence of the fans above seems slightly misplaced.

    If Chelsea can come away from the San Siro with a draw, or a narrow defeat with an away goal, i think they will be happy and confident they can win the tie on at Stamford Bridge. The loss of Cole is a blow to Chelsea, i wonder if Inter will try and exploit this.

  • Comment number 74.

    Morning Phil

    So, are you in Milan or London. You're captions guy suggests London but I would swear the first leg is in Milan.

    Anyway, I do think the media enjoy Mourinho rather more than fans generally. But, putting that opinion to one side, let's look at the Chelsea team and claims that it is Mourinho's team. I reckon tonights starting 11 will be something like:-

    Cech - Ranieri
    Belletti - Mourinho (but on sufferance because he wanted to spend more but was already arguing with Abramovich)
    Terry - Vialli
    Carvalho - Mourinho
    Ferriera - Mourinho
    Mikel - Mourinho
    Malouda - Mourinho
    Lampard - Ranieri
    Ballack - Abramovich?
    Drogba - Mourinho
    Anelka - Grant

    So, if that is right, that is 6 out of 11. About half then.

    In terms of what I think of Mourinho, I think he is a great manager. However, when he showed that he didn't know when to keep his mouth closed, I think he overstepped the mark and acted somewhat petulantly. I think this went as far as to criticise the running of the club and therefore it was right that he went.

    We did win the league twice but he did not get us to the Champions League final, seemingly preferring to wind up Liverpool into special performances, rather than concentrating on Chelsea. If he is claiming that subsequent managers have inherited his team, then it follows that he himself inherited Ranieri's team that came runners-up to Arsenal's invincibles. In fact, I think I am right in saying that if Chelsea had beaten Arsenal twice in the league in 2003/04 rather than losing to them twice, then Chelsea would have been champions.

    Anyway, I think tonight will be a cagey affair and whilst Mourinho 'knows' Chelsea, I would suggest that Ancelotti 'knows' Inter equally as well.

    I hope Chelsea get a goal and then keep a clean sheet at home and we go through.

    But, can we concentrate on the game rather than the managers please?

    Ta

  • Comment number 75.

    The Key Figure today will be Drogba. Notwithstanding the 'norse referee' last season his left foot let Chelsea down. This season he is a Lethal Weapon with credit to Chelsea's coaching staff.

  • Comment number 76.


    Just a thought, - which suprisingly hasn't been mentioned by the media, - yet. Does anyone think Rooney can reach Ronaldo's 42 goals in a season from 07/08, or get to 31 in the premier league like Ronnie, - or even surpass him. He has 27 in all competitions this campaign, 23 coming in the league, he has 10 games left to get 8 goals, you wouldn't bet against him.

    71. At 10:20am on 24 Feb 2010, footballfanatic12 wrote:

    No, If he wins it it will be because he deserves it. Full Stop.

    I say:

    Exactly right my friend.

  • Comment number 77.

    Deserves it... Like Giggs?

  • Comment number 78.

    McNulty,

    I usually enjoy reading your articles. But this one is just full of arse-kissing. You Ingerlish journalists like to kiss Mourinho arse and he takes you for a joke. In Italy they don't treat him like a deity the way you guys do.

    "The pure box office of the man was illustrated by what became, quite literally in my case, a scrum and a race with three photographers just to claim a seat in Old Trafford's media theatre to hear his verdict."

    Are you trying to win the award for Arse-kisser of the Millenium? Football is what goes on on the pitch. The rest is a side-show. It's like you British journalists have nothing to write about but Mourinho. It's not Mourinho v Chelsea (or Mourinho v Ancelotti). How much of this article focused on tactics or the players?

    Why don't you talk about the accusations he made about the referee who later faced death threats? He's started doing the same thing in Italy. He tried to start a war with Lippi. Doesn't he know that Lippi is untouchable? The way he has conducted himself is disgraceful. His players have started to harass referees like they did during his time at Chelsea. It is "box-office" when he's in the right but he's not the only one who provides "box-office". When he's in the wrong it's unsavoury, bad taste.

    If you need Mourinho so badly apply for a job in his entourage. He might let you take out his rubbish.

  • Comment number 79.

    collie21 - what's your point? If anyone attending tonight's game looks at their ticket it will say Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (as a former Inter season ticket holder I should know) and if McNulty checks his press accreditation it will state the same name, whereas you found a website regarding a tour...

    It is indesputable fact that Internazionale play their games at the stadium of that name. The reason there is confusion, as much in England as anywhere else, is because the stadium was named after the legendary striker who represented both clubs and the Italian national team. However, his career is much more synonymous with Inter and as such the Milan fans took umbrage at playing at a stadium named after an Inter hero so they took it upon themselves to refer to it colloquially as San Siro, as that is the district in which the stadium lies. Calling it by this name is simply not correct or fitting for a journalistic piece on the BBC.

  • Comment number 80.

    One thing I have never understood about this countries press and a lot of football fans is the constant fawning Mourinho receives. His achievements with Porto in the champions league need no comment beyond being brilliant; but since then the man has received more money than pretty much every manager in the game and in my eyes has achieved the bare minimum with it. Add to that his 'breath of fresh air' approach of routinely insulting anyone and everyone that dares criticise him/his team (let alone beat them) I really fail to see the fuss. Sure he has made Chelsea the colossus they are now but their style of play hardly matched the leading lights of the game in terms of flair and prowess.

    Inter have benefited hugely from Moggigate, which is no fault of their own, but again the spending at Inter dwarfs most teams in that league. He will be judged on the champions league and failure to see it through with Inter should really start to see his image as a 'European master' challenged in this country.

  • Comment number 81.

    Well I think Anelka would've scored had Mr Hands not stopped him. The ref was also well sighted on it (and the other ones). Didn't send off Abidal in the first half (sent of wrongly in the second).

    The Ref was a huge part in this, there are rules for a reason.

    If the Ref lets a team play with their hands and haul down people in the box, denying these wasted goal scoring opportunities, it's a pen.

  • Comment number 82.

    Come on Inter. Cant stand the thought of Chelsea winning the Champions League, the gloating will be never ending.

  • Comment number 83.

    As usual I'm slighty alarmed by some of the negative comments directed at one of the most inteligent bloggers on the web. I can understand why people hate Jose, I'm not a massive fan of his myself, but to suggest that only the media want him back in England is absurd. As is the claim that he is only good for soundbites. He currently boasts the best home record in world football, has won league titles in 3 countries and the champions league with a relative minnow. Any club chairman in England would happily have him as their manager. And not just for his soundbites, because the bottom line is that for all his negative tactics and distracting comments... he gets paid to be a football manager... and in short he's a bloomin good one.

  • Comment number 84.

    Any chance in such comprehensive opinion pieces we could have something so simple as correct reference to Inter's home? They dont play at San Siro, they play at the stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

    ----------------------------

    Don't be such a pedant. Nobody ever refers to its correct name. Much in the same way that Highbury was technically the 'Arsenal Stadium'. How long have you been following football for you to make such a stupid comment? Yes its not 'correct' but in football terms in the UK - it is. The name was changed in the 80's to honour the death of Meazza but the old name still sticks because it has been called the San Siro decades and decades before the stadium was renamed.

    Besides, saying 'Stadio Giuseppe Meazza' over and over again is a mouthful and a pain to type correctly on the keyboard.

    Curiously in Italy they tend to refer to Manchester United simply as 'Manchester' despite the fact nobody in the UK would ever refer to the team that way. Its wonderful this cultural difference lark ain't it...?

  • Comment number 85.

    #82 Pulpgrape

    It will be a blessed relief if we do win it. It has become a monkey on our back and I think it is fair to say that the way's in which we haven't won it some season's has become something of a tragi-comedy.

    Don't begrudge Chelsea the one win at least, then we can move on.

    I'll celebrate but I'll never gloat. (We'll leave that to the five times history champions in the north west :-) )

  • Comment number 86.

    Great Blog Phil, blogs are all about peoples opinion and need not be all tactical and nerdy. Besides who can clearly give accurate outcomes of games? no one!Games depend on a whole load of factors, plenty of which we so-called experts do not anticipate.

    All said and done, it think the Inter/Chelsea game would be one boring affair with both sides clogging up their mid-fields and not being enterprising upfront. It would be intersting however to see how Ivanovic who might be played out of position contend with Eto'o. I think most top Managers are coming to terms with Mourinho's psychological press antics and Ancelloti will do well ignoring them. I think the real cracker will take place at Stamford Bridge. All in all I see Chelsea ( whom I don't give a tiny rat's arse about) edging Inter into the quarter finals.

    Ciao

  • Comment number 87.

    As usual I'm slighty alarmed by some of the negative comments directed at one of the most inteligent bloggers on the web. I can understand why people hate Jose, I'm not a massive fan of his myself, but to suggest that only the media want him back in England is absurd. As is the claim that he is only good for soundbites. He currently boasts the best home record in world football, has won league titles in 3 countries and the champions league with a relative minnow. Any club chairman in England would happily have him as their manager. And not just for his soundbites, because the bottom line is that for all his negative tactics and distracting comments... he gets paid to be a football manager... and in short he's a bloomin good one.


    -----------------------------------------------------

    Any club chairman in England would happily have him as their manager.

    Except for United chairman.

  • Comment number 88.


    77. At 11:02am on 24 Feb 2010, wondayboo wrote:
    Deserves it... Like Giggs?

    I think the reason last season Giggs got awarded with the PFA Player of the year, was because last season there wasn't really a stand out performer. It was more an award for most consistent player, and I don't think people can argue, when Giggs played, he had a positive effect.

    If you look at the big names who you would put forward as a potential winner at the start of the season, e.g. Ronaldo, Torres, Gerrard, Rooney, Fabregas, Drogba, none of them had great seasons for whatever reason or another, which left the door open for a more unlikely contender to claim the trophy, - which turned out to be Giggs. Even though Giggs has been an amazing player, not many would have tipped him to win player of the season award at 36.

    Obviously if Roooney winds it this year, it will trigger the ABU (Anyone but United) gang into life, however surely noone can deny Rooney, - thus far, as things can change quickly, - warrants the award.

  • Comment number 89.

    To Mark Edwards...I think Mourinho would be a fantastic choice as the next manager of Manchester United. He has a history of winning trophies and will certainly not be over-awed by succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson. Not much sign of Sir Alex going though.

    Interesting debate about Footballer of the Year and one that many members of the media were having on Sunday at Eastlands. I would suggest it is a straight fight between Drogba and Rooney - and at this moment I would just go for Rooney, although really the final decisive factor should be which player ends up with the most silverware at the end of the season.

    And to redandblackT-The legend of Herbert Kilpin...Mourinho a sham? The real thing you mean - and with the successes to back it up. As for the suggestions he is despised by the rest of the football community, how many supporters would welcome him with open arms as the next manager of their club? A huge majority I would bet. And I've not met a single Chelsea fan who despises him.

    Very quick comment for BeyondThePale...I genuinely cannot remember the last time I personally moderated a comment on this blog - and only then because it was libellous against another person. I certainly did not moderate your comment.

    Let's throw this one out to Chelsea fans. Where do you think you can exploit Inter tonight? And where might they exploit Chelsea?

    And Chelsea fans, in the light of some of the anti-Mourinho comments on here (comments I completely disagree with) tell me what you think of "The Special One" and tell me some of your favourite memories of his time at Chelsea.


  • Comment number 90.

    'Mourinho will know the eyes of Europe will be on him in these two meetings with the club where he is correctly idolised for his brilliant work'...
    ....Not by all I have to say. Followed them for 40 years and while I shouted and roared with the best of them when he won us the first title in donkeys years, in the end I was glad to see him go. I don't miss the narcissistic arrogance, the fairly dull football, or the special one's extra special big head that so often lead to some of the cringeworthingly embarassing outbursts against officials, the FA, UEFA, FIFA, and opposition teams / managers / fans etc that Mourinho was so famous for. Of course only someone extra special could have warranted all that supposed persecution from such important and high ranking bodies. Good for journos but bad for football, and bad for Chelsea. I for one much prefer Ancellotti's nonchalent charm or Hiddink's commanding authority, and the football's so much better to watch too.

  • Comment number 91.

    Aarfy_Aardvark - interesting claim but, as I said a former Inter season ticket holder, when there for games I have honestly never heard them referred to simply as 'Manchester'. So when you've heard this how do said people refer to 'City'? Still, across the continent you will often hear Aresenal referred to with the prefix 'London'.

  • Comment number 92.

    #85 MrBlueBurns

    Lol true actually maybe its better if its over and done with. I think everyone underestimates Inter though, they will be a tougher team to beat than they were last year. People point at the fact that Ibrahimovich has gone but he has to be one of the most overrated players of all time. Completely absent on the big stage domestically and internationally. I see he only managed his first goal in a knockout stage of Champions League last night against Stuttgart.

  • Comment number 93.


    79. At 11:10am on 24 Feb 2010, bum_chinned_crab wrote:

    collie21 - what's your point? If anyone attending tonight's game looks at their ticket it will say Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (as a former Inter season ticket holder I should know) and if McNulty checks his press accreditation it will state the same name, whereas you found a website regarding a tour...

    [...] The reason there is confusion, as much in England as anywhere else, is because the stadium was named after the legendary striker who represented both clubs and the Italian national team [...] Calling it by this name is simply not correct or fitting for a journalistic piece on the BBC.
    -----------------------------
    As stated in my earlier post, I don't think there´s confusion, rather that (rightly or wrongly) Stadio Giuseppe Meazza is known by the majority of football fans in the UK as the San Siro. Just do a quick search on this page for 'San Siro' and you'll see what I mean. Again, this doesn't mean that it's right, but it does mean that it's a widely accepted shorthand that it would be correct to use in a blog intended for football fans in the UK ahead of a technically correct but lesser-known name. In this instance the BBC's role is not to teach us the correct names of Italian stadia but to entertain us using broadly the same language and vocabulary that we do.

    Let me ask you a quick question: what's the tallest building in the UK? OK, maybe you work in Docklands so you know what I'm trying to say, but what do you think the majority of people would say? They'd say Canary Wharf, wouldn't they? But technically speaking they'd be wrong, because Canary Wharf is the name of the entire office and retail complex. The real name of the big tower we all know as Canary Wharf is actually One Canada Square. But I would never expect a BBC blog to call it One Canada Square, because that would only lead to confusion amongst the vast majority of readers who know it as Canary Wharf.

  • Comment number 94.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed all the pre-match conversation here. Being a Chelsea fan myself, my biggest concern is not the loss of Ashley Cole but that of Michael Essien. Ever since We lost him to injury we have struggled - particularly away from home (I'm thinking of the games Birmingham 0-0, Hull 1-1, Burnley 2-1, Even Wolves last Saturday). We seem to lack an energy in midfield which you need in creating chances away from home. Mikel isnt the all-round package that Essien is and also doesnt pass the ball quick enough in my opinion. However, I'm hoping that the passion that is created by an epic champions league night will be enough to lift our performance. Having said this, I have another thought that playing away in the Premier League this year has been tough for every club. Chelsea and Man UTD top the away wins columnn - both with only 7.
    On tonight's matter though, I think it could be quite a cagey affair unless Inter score early because Chelsea seem to play a far more exciting game when coming from behind. I would go for 1-1 tonight though.

  • Comment number 95.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 96.

    Chelsea will have the upper hand over Inter, in a big way. Tactically, they set up as quite similar sides, and are both strong throughout the team. But Chelsea will be able to stifle any Inter creativity in midfield and then it becomes a battle between attacks, and frankly Drogba and Anelka will pose far more problems to Inter's defence than Eto'o, Milito or Pandev will do to Chelsea's. Inter's threat will come from Maicon and Maicon alone against such a good Chelsea side, and if they can cover his runs, they have Inter covered.

    Inter are an efficient side, but don't really have the brains to beat Chelsea. They are very much in Mourinho's style, but he definitely prefers England to Italy for some reason and this could be his last season here if a big job in England appears this summer, mentioning no names. His ambition should be to win yet another league, and keep his home record intact, as they won't be winning the Champions League. Not his fault really, but Inter are the best Italy can offer at the minute, and it wouldn't be good enough to beat Barca, Chelsea, Man United and dare I say it, Real.

    Expect Chelsea to be pragmatic though, it's the only way their players know in the Champions League. They definitely would have won a Champions League in the last 5 or 6 years Chelsea if they'd taken more risks. I expect a 1-1 or 0-0 tonight, and at Stamford Bridge a comfortable win by 2 goals from Chelsea. Expect Drogba to be the difference.

  • Comment number 97.

    All managers no matter who they are - are generally mocked and despised by fans of opposing teams, especially amongst their chief rivals and Mourinho plays up this 'us v them' card more than most...generating real animosity.

    However, the fickle nature of football in general means that although he is the type of guy most fans love to hate when in the opposition dugout - at the same time the majority would welcome him with open arms into their own club.

    How differently would he be seen if he took over at Anfield for example by both blues and kop fans?

  • Comment number 98.

    I think some are being quite harsh of old Jose here. Winning two premier leagues with the blues was still a big achievement, and what he's done in Italy even further highlights the flare for management the guy has...he's a top manager and what he did at Porto once again shoes that he knows his football. I definitely understand the comments regarding the media (and not the people's) love for JM, because I also remember all too well having to switch footy focus off if I saw his mug was yet again gracing our screens. Can't see Inter going through, two words: Didier Drogba.

  • Comment number 99.

    Mourinho's acheivements at Porto are not very special. If they were, he would surely have repeated them at Chelsea with the resources he had at Stamford Bridge. Porto are a European heavyweight, they have European pedigree unlike 'giants' such as Chelsea and Arsenal.

    Let me break it down and modify it for you:

    Porto were European Champions in 1987. That means they are in the elite.

    In 2003-2004 they qualified from from Group F in second place behind Real Madrid. They finished ahead of Marseille and Partizan. These teams have some European pedigree. Marseille are still recovering from relegation. Qualification was expected. Also, Porto to Real at home 1-3 & drew away 1-1.

    In the first knockout round they beat a Ferdinand-less Manchester United. That United team was not the strongest. They ended the season 15 points behind the legendary, Invincible Arsenal. It contained the flops Howard, Bellion, Kléberson, Djemba-Djemba, Forlán and Fortune. Still, Mourinho deserves credit. Afterall, it was Manchester United that they beat. Bear in mind, the heavyweights Bayern and Juventus were knocked out at this stage as well.

    In the quarter-finals Porto beat Lyon. We all know Lyon's European pedigree is built on relatively recent results and in 2004 they were still quite unknown. Porto were expcted to qualify. At this stage Milan, Real and Arsenal were eliminated.

    In the semi-finals Porto beat Deportivo 1-0. Deportiva were not a heavyweight but they had beaten some big teams during this period. This game could have gone either way. Chelsea were eliminated in the other semi-final.

    In the final Porto soundly beat Monaco 3-0. Porto's European pedigree is far greater so they started as a team with a winning tradition. The experienced Mourinho was up against Deschamps, who only started his coaching career in 2001. Mourinho had already gained experienced as assistant Coach (to Robson and Van Gaal no less) at Barcelona and Benfica. He later coached Benfica and Leiria before Porto. So if you put all this into context you would have expected Porto to win.

  • Comment number 100.

    85. Mr Blue Burns.

    I'll celebrate but I'll never gloat. (We'll leave that to the five times history champions in the north west :-) )

    ==================================

    Please - we ain't got much to gloat about at the moment.

    97. JoC - I'd love to see him at Anfield.

 

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