Mourinho arrives at Stamford Bridge sans Balotelli

Champions League last 16 second leg: Chelsea v Inter Milan
Venue: Stamford Bridge Date: Tuesday, 16 March Kick-off: 1945 GMT

Mario Balotelli has been left at home.
But the Inter coach would not talk about the reasons for leaving the striker behind other than cursorily dismissing it as a “tactical choice.”
He did however name seven starters: Julio Cesar, Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Javier Zanetti, Wesley Sneijder, and Diego Milito. He could also give Samuel Eto’o a start over Goran Pandev; Ivan Cordoba possibly taking over at left back. In midfield Thiago Motta, an enforcer might be preferred over the more finesse Stankovic.
With Mourinho, the id is never far behind. Which makes him extremely quotable. He regrets not leaving Stamford Bridge on his own terms. The timing was off.
“I would have left the day after the FA Cup final at the end of that third season.”
With Avram Grant’s appointment as technical director and John Terry’s alarm that the gaffer was trying to push him out, Jose Mourinho’s relationship with Abramovich and Peter Kenyon had fractured beyond repair in the off season. Abramovich by then had shifted his emphasis to developing youth talent, an area that was neglected by Mourinho.
Since his departure, the club has not won the Premiership whereas Inter has won four Scudettos in a row. A point he referenced in a sly way:
“I keep winning important things. They keep winning something – I think they won the FA Cup,” he said.
Even as he insists he has moved on, there appears a nonplussed note when talking of his departure.
“When I watch the Premiership, I see all my old rivals, Ferguson, Wenger, and Benitez, are still there. I had done more than enough to be there.”
A bit of hubris crops up.
“At the end of the game I will be ‘the Special One’ win or lose.”
This being Mourinho, he is mercurial and ambitious.
“I have three things to do in my career. One thing is to get back to English football, another thing is to win the Spanish championship, because nobody has won the Italian, English and Spanish championships.

“And another thing, when I’m old, is to coach my national team.”

Mourinho never lived under a rock. The sparks used to fly when the big four met up. Now it seems a bit tame.

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