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Tim Lovejoy - Mourinho v Messi promises to be a classic

Published: 09 Apr 2010 - 13:31:02

What a disappointing week for English clubs in the Champions League. Michel Platini will be happy now.

I remember all the so-called experts who predicted football was broken and English teams would dominate in Europe. As always it just shows you can't predict anything in football and the doom-and-gloom merchants have been proved wrong once again.

No Chelsea, no Manchester United, no Arsenal and no Liverpool in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Instead we've got one representative from Spain, Italy, France and Germany making up the last four. When you consider those four teams competed in the last two major international finals, it doesn't bode well for England at the World Cup - or if you want to give it a positive spin our boys will have fresh legs for the world cup. Take your pick.

Back to Champions league business and over two legs, the English teams just didn't have enough to do it.

Looking ahead to the semis, I can't wait to watch Inter take on Barcelona. Arguably it will be a clash between the best manager in football and the best team. Or the tabloid version, 'Tactics vs Talent'.

Lionel Messi has been simply unstoppable this season and it will fascinating to see how Jose Mourinho deals with his threat.

I was hammered last year for suggesting Chelsea would have fancied Barca in the semis, but if you look back on that game it was really tight. Only a sublime goal from Barca at Stamford Bridge came between them.

But Pep Guardiola's team have brought in Zlatan Ibrahomivic this year and he gives them another option with more power and strength up front.

For Inter, Samuel Eto'o is always a threat. I wouldn't be surprised if Jose pulls this one off. Remember he took an average Porto to Champions League glory...so maybe he can do the same with Inter.

HIGH STAKES IN WEMBLEY SEMIS

There is always a lot of controversy about holding FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley, but people forget it was part of the deal to build the new stadium in the first place.

All of the money earned this weekend will go into paying back the enormous construction costs.

So far I don't think Wembley semis have really captured the imagination however. There's something missing and I think we need to work on making the tradition more special in some way.

The four teams in action this weekend all have serious motivation.

Carlo Ancelotti wil be desperate to pick up silverware and keep moral high at Chelsea, while Martin O'Neill could really use a trophy to prove he's the manager we all think he is.

The same is true for Harry Redknapp at Tottenham who needs to deliver silverware sooner or later, while Portsmouth have the chance to put a silver lining on an otherwise miserable campaign that will end in relegation.

READ TIM LOVEJOY EXCLUSIVELY AT FOOTBALL.CO.UK

DSG


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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:tim lovejoy
Tim Lovejoy rose to fame as the genial co-host of Soccer AM, deploying his sharp wit and extensive football knowledge alongside Helen Chamberlain when the show launched in 1996. A Saturday audience of millions tuned in, and Lovejoy fast became a household name. After leaving Sky in 2007, Lovejoy is now a regular presenter at BBC Radio 5 Live, and co-hosts the popular Friday night show, ‘Murray and Lovejoy’s Sports Express’ with Colin Murray. He can also be found hosting BBC Two's Sunday magazine show, 'Something for the Weekend'.

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