Champions League reaction

Mourinho breathes a sigh of relief

December 10, 2009
By Soccernet staff

Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho hailed his squad's team-work as they booked their place in the next round with a 2-0 victory over Rubin Kazan.

Jose Mourinho
GettyImages / -Jose Mourinho breathed a sigh of relief as Inter Milan made the last 16 of the Champions League

• Inter Milan 2-0 Rubin Kazan

On the night after Juventus crashed out after a shock home defeat to Bayern Munich, the Nerazzurri needed a victory over the Russian side to ensure they finished second in Group F behind holders Barcelona, and Mourinho was delighted to avoid the potential banana skin.

"This is the merit of all the squad,'' he said. "From our goalkeeper Julio Cesar to our striker Mario Balotelli, to those players that were on the bench and those that watched the game from the stands. The group has been able to stick together and suffer together.''

Last season Mourinho announced he wanted to be drawn against Manchester United in the last 16 and had his wish granted, only for the Red Devils to knock Inter out of the competition.

"When last year I said I would have preferred to face Manchester United, I did not say that because they were European champions,'' said Mourinho, "but because it would have given my team an extra motivation to face such a side.

"This year we cannot face Barcelona. But there are two top English clubs, then there's Real Madrid and Sevilla, who some may consider a weaker side but I believe it is a very difficult side to face. Bordeaux has done very well as well. I really don't know which one I would prefer.''

The Champions League knock-out draw takes place on December 18.