DES KELLY: It's Jose vs the world! Italians are fed up with the Inter boss

23 February 2010 01:22
Jose Mourinho loves making enemies. He just can't help himself. And in Italy, he has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

The self-styled Special One has gone out of his way to trash Italian football, accuse Serie A referees of conspiring to deny his club the title and turn the entire Italian media machine against him. As ever, it's Jose v The World.

That animosity will come to a head in a peculiar twist on Wednesday night when a sizeable proportion of the Italian population pin their hopes on the possibility that their countryman, Carlo Ancelotti, Chelsea's softly-spoken manager, will put Mourinho in his place.

I'm two good: Jose Mourinho celebrates after a victory over AC Milan last month

It matters little that Ancelotti is now in charge of an English Premier League club playing against the Serie A champions-elect.

Outside the blue and black half of Milan, the view is that Italian pride will be better served by seeing Mourinho humbled. There is no doubt he is public enemy No 1.

Mourinho is regarded as just too corrosive a character in a league just beginning to recover from the Calciopoli scandal of 2006, where police discovered leading clubs had selected their 'favourite' referees for matches.

Mourinho has no hesitation in exploiting this whenever results or referees' decisions go against Inter, blaming wholesale corruption in officialdom for any setbacks, as he did again on Sunday when two of his players were sent off in a goalless draw.

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'We are not playing against Milan, or Rome or Sampdoria,' he said. 'We are playing against "other things".' Mourinho accuses the authorities as if they were 'ostriches, with their heads in the sand'.

Now the Italian game is fighting back. Sampdoria chief executive Beppe Marotta said Mourinho 'creates a nasty climate'. Italian Football Federation vice-president Demetario Albertini accused Mourinho of 'continually throwing dirt at football'. AC Milan general manager Adriano Galliani, former president of the Italian League, went a stage further. 'We cannot continue like this,' he said. 'Mourinho has to stop. His attitude is tantamount to an incitement to violence.'

And so Mourinho has been hit with a three-match touchline ban and £40,000 fine, which is being viewed as the beginning of a long and acrimonious departure from Serie A for the Portuguese coach.

A top Italian writer, who deals with the Inter camp daily, said: 'We don't think he will be here next season and we won't be sorry about that. There are plenty of people around who will drive him to the airport.'

Even allowing for some opportunistic bandwagon jumping by Inter's rivals, there is no doubting the widespread contempt Mourinho's antics inspire.

Guilty: Mourinho mimes that he is in handcuffs in weekend clash against Sampdoria

On Sunday he threw a kit bag over the roof of the Inter dug-out, mimed that he was being slapped in handcuffs, doubled up in sarcastic laughter at some of the officials' decision making and allegedly confronted the referee in the tunnel.

Inter president Massimo Moratti spent yesterday privately apologising for his manager and seeking to calm tempers at the Italian Federation. Moratti enjoys what Mourinho achieves on the pitch, but finds the accompanying mess an embarrassment.

It is a situation Roman Abramovich will be familiar with. Although Mourinho's failures in the Champions League and style of play were said to be the main factors behind the Russian owner's decision to remove him, according to one of his aides Abramovich simply decided Mourinho had become 'unmanageable'.

It wasn't me: Inter forward Eto'o

There were too many controversies and too many conflicts around the club, and those same quarrelsome distractions are now in danger of running out of control in Milan, where Mourinho is regarded as a never-ending argument. But, oddly, while he seems happy to attract as much opprobrium as possible in Italy, Mourinho has been going out of his way to make diplomatic noises about Chelsea.

He even fired off a text to Abramovich over the weekend. It said: 'Do you need extra tickets, a box or a hotel in Milan?'

Mourinho said: 'Whenever I go to London he's available to give me his support, this time I want to see if he needs something from me.' So does Abramovich get the red-carpet treatment? 'For sure,'nodded the Inter boss on Saturday night.

Mourinho went on studiously to avoid any admission the game is an opportunity for revenge on the club that dumped him two-and-a-half years ago.

'No, there would be no special pleasure,' he said with a straight face. 'I think it's the same for them if they knock me out.'

Having highlighted Chelsea's lack of trophies since his departure and Abramovich's 'grave mistakes' in appointing the likes of Avram Grant since, Mourinho would still have us imagine tomorrow night is little more than another day at the office.

'I'm not especially excited, I promise you,' he says. 'I view it with the same amount of emotion and without any extra nerves or motivation. That's how it is.'

Enlarge And, no, I don't believe a word of that either. Chelsea have pursued the Champions League for seven years under Abramovich, but the pursuit is nothing measured against Inter's 45-year hunt for Europe's top prize.

It is their Holy Grail. Winning Serie A again will not insulate Mourinho from the consequences of his continual feuding. Inter have won four titles in a row and take it almost for granted that any manager they appoint will claim a fifth successive Scudetto.

But lose again in Europe, as Mourinho did against Manchester United last season, and he will leave Milan a qualified failure.

He is not expected to stay. If Italian football holds Mourinho in contempt, the feeling is undoubtedly mutual. And he has his eye on Real Madrid this summer, rather than a return to the Premier League.

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Source: Daily_Mail