Mourinho up to his old tricks at Inter Milan
When Jose Mourinho first arrived at Inter Milan, I was expecting fireworks.
His sharp wit and tongue while at Chelsea won him fans and enemies in equal measure but no one could say the ‘Special One’ was dull.
However, in his first couple of months at the Italian champions, the Portuguese seemed somewhat withdrawn. Was this a new, more measured Mourinho? Would he just do the day job and then hide away in his new surroundings?
Not a chance. Mourinho was just sussing out Italian soccer and the media. Once he felt comfortable, his ego and cheeky character blew a hole in Serie A.
Last week he said Inter deserved to beat Catania 5-1 despite only winning 2-1 with two own goals. Catania’s chief executive Pietro Lo Monaco replied by saying Mourinho had insulted the whole of the Sicilian city and that he risked ‘having his teeth smashed in”.
Lo Monaco, who has been charged by the soccer federation for inciting violence, quickly apologised and said the comment was “a Sicilian turn of phrase”. Mourinho laughed off the whole episode, saying the only Monaco he had heard of was the Monaco Grand Prix.
From that point on the whole of Italy knew what it was in for. Not even Mourinho’s comical Portuguese accent when speaking Italian can diminish the admiration he is quickly gleaning.
Mourinho’s charisma has also begun to rub off on his players. Inter were efficient in winning the scudetto under Roberto Mancini last season but rarely exciting.
Back-to-back wins over Panathinaikos in the Champions League and Torino on Sunday showed a new side to Inter, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic acquiring the swagger of a manager he has already labelled ‘great’.
PHOTO: Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho watches his team play their against Ajax at the Amsterdam Tournament, Aug 9, 2008 REUTERS/Robin van Lonkhuijsen/United Photos (NETHERLANDS)