The excellent Sid Lowe in Spain with his summary of manager reactions from today's semifinal, which featured the defeat of Real Madrid by Bayern Munich in a penalty shootout. The Jose who won all our hearts at Chelsea makes an appearance here, speaking with fondness for his old boys, but pledging to be back with los Galacticos next year: "Two [Champions League] semi-finals is also not bad, but we want more."
Mourinho mounts a spirited rhetorical defense of Chelsea against its many detractors, the proponents of Barcelona's "beautiful game," which proved ineffective against the scrappy, defensive-minded, counterattacking style of 10 man Chelsea on Tuesday.
"John [Terry] is missing but Chelsea are there [in the final] and that is the most important thing," he said. "I just hope it is a good final and of course I want the Blues to win, even though I have a lot of respect for the reds. I have a blue rib, still. Inter and Chelsea mean a lot to me."
"I think Chelsea's boys were heroes [against Barcelona], absolute heroes. Some people think they are the masters of the game and they will criticise Chelsea in the same way that they criticised Inter two years ago, but they know nothing. Nothing."
"They know nothing about character and personality. They know nothing about the effort or what it is to resist physically, emotionally and technically, with 10 men. They know nothing about organisation. They know nothing. That's why my heroes at Chelsea are in my mind and why Chelsea deserve to be in the final. One of the great things about football is that it is unpredictable. Chelsea have fantastic fans and so do Bayern Munich so I hope they enjoy the final. And I hope Chelsea win."
Great to hear these words from Jose. Though he's been a lightning rod for controversy as of late, he is certainly one of the greatest managers of all time, and it is good to hear him call out the dishonest segments of the Spanish media– and their allies in the international press– who claim that Barcelona were somehow wronged in these semifinals. Chelsea's flexibility, focus and determination against great odds saw them through, and Barcelona's fixation on their desired style of play above all else led to their undoing. On to Munich!