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Mourinho plays down Inter links ahead of Milan return

Jose Mourinho will attend Inter’s match against Sampdoria on Saturday, but insists he has no designs on his old job at San Siro.

Mourinho has been linked to a host of high-profile jobs since his second tenure at Chelsea ended prematurely last December, while Inter – who he guided to back-to-back Serie A titles and Champions League glory in 2010 –  have seen their ambitions of claiming the Scudetto fade during the new year.

Inter owner Erick Thohir said earlier on Friday that the slump did not put current boss Roberto Mancini’s job in jeopardy and Mourinho says his presence in Milan is in relation to a dinner date with Thohir’s predecessor Massimo Moratti.

“I’ll be in Milan for one day – I am grateful to my president Massimo Moratti, who I want to personally thank,” he said in a statement released to La Stampa.

“I left Inter in 2010 and since then I have worked hard at Real Madrid and Chelsea, so it has been hard to find the time to have lunch with the Moratti family. We agreed to see each other a couple of weeks ago.

“After being together for lunch we will go to San Siro, bringing with us the spirit of Inter, with the hope and happiness to see Inter win. It will be very emotional for me – San Siro, the Inter fans.

“But one thing I want to clarify, I will not be in charge next season. Inter have a project and that is Erick Thohir and Roberto Mancini.

“Their ideas have my full support and my hope is that the project of the coach and the president continues with great success.”

On his own future, Mourinho said recent weeks have been a case of clubs approaching him rather than the other way around, amid speculation touting him as a replacement for under-fire Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal.

“My next club? I really don’t know,” he explained. “One thing is certain; I love football and I will return on the fields with the same passion and ambition as always.

“Right now I have respect for every coach and every club. I’m not looking for a club; it is the clubs who seek me.”

Speaking to Sky Italia, Thohir stated his previous encounters with Mourinho should not see the Portuguese touted as Mancini’s successor.

Thohir praised Mancini for the progress made since his own San Siro return in November 2014, but cautioned that a run of two wins in nine matches in 2016 must be improved upon.

“I met Mourinho in Jakarta a couple of years ago,” Thohir told Sky Italia.

“He’s a great calibre of coach, he made history with Inter, but we have Roberto Mancini now who also wrote history with this club, achieving excellent results.

“At this moment I firmly believe he can revive the team.

“Look what’s already changed. If you compare Inter this year to last year it’s a different team, though of course we need more time.

“It’s not an excuse and at the same time Roberto Mancini knows what our target is. We want to win the Champions League.”

Fri 19 Feb, 2016
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