LONDON, March 17, 2010 (AFP) - Inter Milan manager Jose Mourinho has warned Roman Abramovich that Chelsea may never win the Champions League after the former Blues boss returned to dump his old club out of the competition.
Mourinho masterminded Inter's 1-0 victory in the last 16 second leg at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday which clinched a 3-1 aggregate success and left Chelsea owner Abramovich still waiting to fulfil his dream of winning Europe's elite club event.
|Jose Mourinho is pictured before their second leg in the round of 16 UEFA Champions League match against Chelsea at home to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge football stadium, London on March 16, 2010. The match ended 1-0 to Inter Milan. AFP PHOTO|
Ever since he was sacked by Abramovich in September 2007 following a lengthy power struggle with the Russian billionaire, Mourinho must have dreamed of the moment he would exact his revenge.
Thanks to his inspired game-plan, Inter's resolute defending and a superb goal from Samuel Eto'o, Mourinho was able to prove his point and deny his former employer the trophy he prizes most.
Mourinho resisted the temptation to gloat too much but he made it clear there is no guarantee Chelsea will ever win such a demanding competition.
"I know that Roman is a very intelligent person. And because of this he is not the same person he was one year, three years or five years ago," Mourinho said.
"Probably when he arrived in football he thought it would be easier to do it. It is not easy. The team that wins will have small details that make the difference.
"Roman knows very well how to read, understand and analyse the game. For sure he knows his team lost to a team that deserved to win. Because he is a man of fair play I am sure he accepts that."
Although Mourinho could have been forgiven for taking a very public satisfaction from eliminating his old club, the Portuguese coach insisted it was only Inter's progress to the last eight that pleased him.
"I'm happy because I won. I am not happy my ex-players lost, because Roman lost or because the fans go home unhappy," Mourinho said.
"It is a very important victory for me as a coach but it is not the victory of my life. It was hard to prepare myself to come here as an enemy.
"I exchanged some text messages with John Terry before the game and I told him someone will go home happy and someone sad.
"My people will always be my people. But I was the enemy. And the enemy won. That's life.
"Somebody asked if I would still be special if I didn't win. Now I can say I am not so special to the Chelsea supporters who will probably never forgive me."
For Mourinho there was more satisfaction in a job well done. His decision to play Eto'o and Goran Pandev as wide attackers to take advantage of Chelsea's full-backs worked perfectly and Inter were rarely in danger of surrendering their first leg advantage.
The decisive moment came in the 79th minute when Eto'o sprinted onto Wesley Sneijder's superb pass, held off right-back Branislav Ivanovic and drove his shot past Ross Turnbull.
Mourinho's fist-pumping celebration told its own story and Chelsea's frustration at their earliest exit from the competition since 2006 - and their first home European defeat for 22 matches - boiled over when Didier Drogba was sent off for a nasty stamp on Thiago Motta.
While Mourinho returned to Italy well and truely vindicated, Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti admits he has to deliver success in the Premier League to make amends for his European failure.
Brought to the Bridge for his impressive achievements in the Champions League, Ancelotti could have done without such an early exit and now he must focus on ending Manchester United's three-year reign as English champions.
"We are near the top of the league but I'm sure there will be more pressure on the next games. This is normal," he said.
"I have been involved in this sport for a lot of years, I know very well the facts. I will do my best to do a good job for Chelsea.
"We have to be strong and control our emotions. Maybe this defeat could be very good motivation for the next weeks.
"I know what the expectations are in this environment and it is normal a manager will come under more pressure if he loses a few matches.
"We were in three competitions, now we are only in two and we are disappointed by that. But our objective now is to go on and win the FA Cup and Premier League."