Originally published in la Gazzetta dello Sport
Every week Football Italiano brings you a translation of one of la Gazzetta dello Sport’s interviews with a major name from the world of Italian football. This time it is the turn of Inter Coach Jose Mourinho…
Mourinho, do you hope to stay 7 points ahead of Juventus untill the match against them?
“It doesn’t matter how many points ahead of them we are, what matters is that we’re 20 points away from the Scudetto. There are less and less matches and Inter keeps on winning. We are in a privileged position but we need to keep concentrated and humble. We’re a very strong group mentally. And when your head is connected the rest comes as a consequence. No matter the defensive emergency, everybody adapted to the difficult reality”.
You reacted well after the elimination from the Champions League.
“We felt disappointed, there’s no point in hiding it, but there was also a great response on the pitch, without fear of frustration. In fact, I saw even more will to win a Scudetto which will be very important”.
You paid compliments to Juventus. Would defeating them give even more joy to the Nerazzurri fans?
“There are easy championships sometimes. This is certainly not one. You always celebrate a Scudetto, but the satisfaction is even bigger if you win a tournament rich in quality and difficulty. Both of the titles won with Chelsea earned me a medal; but the first one was the most beautiful because we fought hard for it”.
Ibrahimovic though insists on saying that the mood is not good.
“I can’t see why he would leave Inter. That ‘stomach ache’, that I’d rather define as frustration for being out of the Champions League, made him even more determined on the pitch. And maybe he was misunderstood, he really wanted to say that now he’s only concentrating on the Scudetto”.
Losing the most important player though can’t leave you unconcerned.
“Im very calm. Zlatan and I speak everyday, even when we don’t see each other at the Pinetina. Our relationship hasn’t changed after Manchester and now he has also got the stimulation from the possibility of finishing top scorer. Ibra remains someone who plays for the team, but if he won the Capocanniere title, no one could take the Ballon d’argent away from him; whilst the Ballon d’Or is going to go to either Ronaldo or Messi, depending on who brings the Cup home. Reaching this goal would be a satisfaction in spite of the Champions League disappointment”.
Could you be the guarantor with Ibra about the chance for Inter to win the Champions League?
“I don’t think it’s necessary. Ibra is a great professional and has got the best years of his career ahead of him”.
Have you ever convinced to stay a player that wanted to go?
“I did, and he also wrote about it in his autobiography. After winning the UEFA Cup in 2003, Deco wanted to leave Porto. I told him that staying for one more year would have been decisive. He stayed, we won the Champions League and afterwards he went to Barcelona with a different status”.
Let’s talk about the next Inter. Will the market be done considering the 4-3-1-2 or will you try again with the 4-3-3?
“Personally, I like the tactical ductility you saw against Reggina. As they were playing with 3 central defenders, we exploited the wings more. Balotelli is the emblem of what I’m saying. He has matured a lot, and now that he’s playing well as a centre forward and externally in a three forwards formation, he only needs to try and play behind as a midfielder with the 4-4-2”.
Are you going to ask Moratti for a quality signing in midfield?
“It’s true, we need a tre-quartista who invents, but it’s also true that many a team don’t have our physical and psychological potential. Obviously if a tre-quartista came along I’d be happy because I’d have an extra weapon, but what Moratti said is true: rather than the players, I want to change the club’s philosophy. I’ve already spoken to our president after Manchester, and last Friday, and I’m going to do it again until we’ll go towards the same direction. Towards the same philosophy. Which is not Mourinho’s or Moratti’s or Branca’s one, but Inter’s one. When I was at Chelsea there was a lot of money available for the manager’s philosophy. At Inter it’s more difficult as I’ve got to end a cycle and start a new one”.
If this philosophy doesn’t change, will you leave?
“I see myself with Inter next year. So much so that I’m leaving for Los Angeles on Friday to organize the summer break in July”.