How Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan beat Carlo Ancelotti's Chelsea
By Nick Wright
Last Updated: 22/10/16 6:11pm
Jose Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge for only the second time as an opposition manager when Manchester United face Chelsea on Super Sunday. Here, we recall how he knocked the Blues out of the Champions League on his way to lifting the trophy with Inter Milan in 2010.
"Nothing special." That was how Jose Mourinho described the draw for the last 16 of the Champions League in December 2009, when Inter Milan were paired with his former club Chelsea. The Portuguese insisted he would treat the game like any other, but his attempts to downplay the occasion fell on deaf ears.
It was a little over two years since his acrimonious departure from Stamford Bridge, and it would be his first trip back to the stadium he called home for three glorious seasons between 2004 and 2007, when he steered the Blues to two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups.
It was a mouth-watering tie, and Mourinho's frosty relationship with Carlo Ancelotti only added to the spectacle. The pair had locked horns during Ancelotti's time in charge of Inter's rivals AC Milan in the previous season, and the lead-up to the first leg was dominated by talk of their rivalry.
Just a few days previously, Mourinho had been fined and banned for three Serie A games after making handcuff gestures as two of his players were sent off during a goalless draw with Sampdoria. It was not the first time he had courted controversy since taking over at Inter, and his antagonistic behaviour was winning few friends outside of the club.
Ancelotti insisted "the whole of Italy" would be cheering for Chelsea, and Italian newspaper La Repubblica carried a similar message: "Many hoped he would bring some maturity and culture to our football, but instead we are going backwards."
As the storm raged around their manager, however, Inter's players embraced the siege mentality. The Italian giants had drawn their previous three games in Serie A, but there was no sign of sluggishness when Chelsea came to the San Siro in February 2010. Just three minutes had passed when Diego Milito eluded John Terry and fired a low shot inside Petr Cech's near post.
Mourinho nodded his head in satisfaction. It was a perfect start for Inter, but Chelsea equalised through Salomon Kalou early in the second half. Inter rallied quickly, though, with Esteban Cambiasso scoring what turned out to be the decisive goal just a few minutes later when he rifled home a diagonal shot after his original effort had been blocked by Branislav Ivanovic.
Chelsea were left to rue what had looked like a clear penalty when Kalou was brought down by Walter Samuel before the break, but Inter celebrated their 2-1 win before Mourinho turned his attentions to the second leg at the stadium where he didn't lose a single league game between 2004 and 2007.
"I will have to control my emotions there and be professional," Mourinho said. "I will go back to a different dressing room and dugout, but they will know that normally Mourinho is lucky at Stamford Bridge. I have nothing to prove to Chelsea, to Chelsea's players, to Chelsea's fans, to Chelsea's board. The relations are great. Will I be booed? I don't believe I will be. I will be clapped.''
Mourinho was afforded a warm welcome by Chelsea supporters, pausing to sign autographs on the sidelines before kick off, but the mood soured as soon as the action got underway. Mourinho was an animated figure on the touchline, engaging in a running feud with the fourth official as his side made their presence felt on the field.
The hosts struggled to find a way through Inter's formidable backline of Maicon, Lucio, Samuel and Javier Zanetti, and tempers frayed with every niggling foul as Inter sought to slow the game down. Chelsea's best chances came in a frantic period before the break, with Nicolas Anelka going close and Didier Drogba denied a penalty when he appeared to be hauled down by Samuel.
Mourinho's game plan centred around frustrating Ancelotti's side, but there was attacking intent too. Milito was flanked by Samuel Eto'o and Goran Pandev, who pinned back Chelsea's full-backs Ivanovic and Yuri Zhirkov and offered a considerable threat on the counter-attack.
Inter looked increasingly menacing as the second half wore on, with Milito spurning a golden opportunity before Eto'o killed the tie with a clinical finish from Wesley Sneijder's pass 12 minutes from time. Chelsea's frustration boiled over when Drogba was sent off for a stamp on Motta.
Mourinho had got his tactics just right. The former Chelsea manager revealed he had watched the first leg seven times in preparation for the return game, and Ancelotti admitted Inter were deserving winners.
"Tonight, [Chelsea's players] felt immediately that Inter were the best team and this brings frustration to great players," said Mourinho. "These are my players, my people but today I was the enemy and the enemy won. I celebrated a lot in the dressing room. It was a big victory for my team. I love Chelsea, I love this stadium, I love these people but I am a professional."
Mourinho's career has taken twists and turns since that night, but he returns to Stamford Bridge on Super Sunday with another chance to make his point. Chelsea supporters will hope it doesn't evoke memories of the last time he took his seat in the away dugout.