Under pressure but defiant, Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho fended off criticism about his domestic league problems, concentrating instead on the Champions League second round, first leg clash against his former club Chelsea on Wednesday.
AFP - Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho batted away all talk about his domestic league problems and insisted on Tuesday that he was totally focussed on Wednesday's Champions League second round, first leg clash against former club Chelsea.
Mourinho was on Monday hit with a three-game touchline ban and 40,000-euro fine for making a handcuffs gesture and insulting the referee during Saturday's 0-0 draw at home to Sampdoria.
But the Portuguese remained defiant about his behaviour.
"Find me a referee who says I've insulted him, find me a referee with the courage to say that Mourinho insulted him," he said.
Mourinho was also asked what he thought about Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti claiming all Italian non-Inter fans would be supporting the west Londoners, a claim the Italian then later denied.
"If he says that it's because he knows it, because somebody told him or because he belongs to the (anti-Inter) clan," said Mourinho, who backtracked later claiming he'd said: "who knows if he is part of the (anti-Inter) clan."
"I'm here to play a game of football, which is one of the things I've enjoyed the most in my life since I was a child and nothing more than that, I'm glad to play this game tomorrow."
Mourinho has had a fractious relationship with the Italian press and football authorities since arriving in the country 18 months ago but he insisted that his players, such as Chelsea's Didier Drogba, have always held him in high esteem.
"The most beautiful thing in football for a coach is the passion and respect from his players and supporters at his club," he added.
"That happens to me all the time, it hapened at Porto, it happened at Chelsea and it's happening at Inter.
"That makes me proud and what Didier said and keeps saying about me makes me very, very proud.
"But I know what will happen tomorrow (Wednesday), he will break his leg for his team and his team is Chelsea.
"On the other bench will be his friend who admires him but will have different objectives to his own objectives.
"That also makes me proud because that is the education I give to my players, to give everything to their club when playing for their club and then to give everything for the national team when playing for the national team."
Ancelotti was also keen to talk about Drogba and just how much whe will bring to Chelsea.
"Drogba is a very important player and has scored many goals, 25, he's playing with great consistency, he's in a great moment," he said.
"He's another weapon we can use, but this is a team and progression is not a question of individuality."
The Italian also denied he had said anything about all Italians being for his team and not Inter.
"I never said that, I work for (Chelsea) and try to do my best for this club but I have total respect for (Inter) who were my rivals for many years, I always had respect for them and I do too now."
One problem for Ancelotti is his left-back situation where both Ashley Cole and Yuri Zhirkov are out injured.
"We have a problem because we're missing two important players but we have (Juliano) Belletti back who can play left-back," he said.
"He's been out for a while but he's been training all week and he's been training well, I'm sure we'll find a solution even if missing Ashley and Zhirkov hurts us."
Mourinho is not without his problems either as goalkeeper Julio Cesar was involved in a car accident on Sunday night and is rated as doubtful, with a decision to be made on his inclusion on Wednesday morning.
Date created : 2010-02-24