Tuesday, July 16, 2024

We´ll definitely qualify, vows Mourinho

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 2 Oct 2008


Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho claimed his team would still qualify for the Champions League knock-out rounds, and before their final group B match despite drawing 1-1 at home to Werder Bremen.

Inter are joint top of the group on four points with Cypriot surprise package Anorthosis Famagusta, whom the Italians play in their next two group games.

Mourinho's men took the lead against Bremen on 13 minutes after Brazilian full-back Maicon ran on to a lucky rebound and delicately chipped goalkeeper Tim Wiese, who probably went to ground too quickly.

But just after the hour mark Werder got a deserved equaliser as former Chelsea frontman Claudio Pizarro stretched out a leg to prod home a deep cross from Mesut Ozil at the far post.

Having beaten Panathinaikos 2-0 away in their opening match, though, Mourinho remains confident of progress.

“We played quite well, we created many chances and we could have scored (more). We played a good team who did their work well and after scoring (the equaliser) they defended with everyone,” he said.

“If there was one team that should have won, I think it was us but football is not like that.

“We have to accept it even if we thought should have won. I'm not happy but this is a group and we have four points with two more matches at the San Siro to come.

“You can never say 100 percent in football but I'm certain we will be in the last 16, and even before the last match. We're in a very positive position.”

Under normal circumstances Inter would be expected to coast to six points in two games against the Cypriots but Famagusta have suprised everyone by dismissing Olympiakos in the last preliminary round and then getting a 0-0 draw in Bremen before beating Panathinaikos 3-1 at home.

And while Inter themselves looked great in beating Panathinaikos and also in their 3-1 win over Torino in Serie A, they have been far from convincing in other matches this season.

Mourinho opted to play three up front against Bremen but rather than using wingers Ricardo Quaresma and Mancini either side of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, he asked centre forwards Adriano and Mario Balotelli to play out wide.

Mourinho eventually brought Quaresma on for Adriano, giving Inter much needed width, but the former Chelsea boss argued that he had still picked the right starting line-up.

“Adriano is not yet ready to do 90 minutes but he has improved his overall play. He doesn't lose the ball when you play it up him,” he said.

“Quaresma and Mancini are faster but Adriano played better offensively than before.

“Balotelli is Balotelli. He does some incredible things but sometimes he does naive things that you'd expect of an 18 year old.

“He needs to learn but he plays in the Champions League without fear and at the end of first half he almost created a goal which could have changed everything.

“He worked hard and he deserves to play in the next match. He deserves the faith we have in him but he needs to have feedback and needs to improve. But I'm happy with him.”

Mourinho also paid tribute to Bremen's Peru forward Pizarro, whom he actually signed soon before leaving Chelsea.

“He's a player that I like. It's not new that he plays well and scores, he's a great player.



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