Jose: We don't fear Anfield

01 May 2007 07:25
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho doesn't believe the Anfield atmosphere will intimidate his players during their Champions League semi-final second leg meeting with Liverpool. The Blues hold a 1-0 advantage from the first leg at Stamford Bridge courtesy of Joe Cole's goal and much has been made of the hostile reception they will face on Merseyside on Tuesday night. But Mourinho believes his side has enough big-game experience to cope with anything the Liverpool faithful can produce to inspire their side. "A great atmosphere supporting the home team is always good for the home team. A hostile one for the away team can depend on the players' character," said Mourinho. "But at this level, a hostile atmosphere can be a good motivation for people with a lot of experience. I do not see (Claude) Makelele not sleeping because of the atmosphere coming up. "Everyone wants good atmospheres and Liverpool's fans always provide that. "We have prepared ourselves for this atmosphere. Referees must also prepare themselves for matches with players asking for this, for that, for this, for that. They have to be strong enough to cope with it." Mourinho expects Reds counterpart Rafael Benitez to name Peter Crouch in his starting line-up to exploite with the absence through injury of defender Ricardo Carvalho. However, the Portuguese coach has raised questions about the appointment of Spanish referee Manuel Mejuto Gonzalez, who also officiated the 2005 Champions League final which the Reds won in Istanbul. "The referee is Spanish, and a top referee. I prefer a top Spanish referee than a bad referee from another nationality," he continued. "But I can imagine if he was Portuguese what everyone would say about it. "But I say nothing, just that Mr Gonzalez is one of the best referees in Europe and I want to believe he comes here to do a professional job - a job without heart, a job as a professional. "He is a top referee, nothing else, I believe that."

Source: ESA