Inter coach Jose Mourinho claims Barcelona’s hope of winning the Champions League at the home of their rivals Real Madrid has developed into an obsession.
Inter lead reigning European champions Barca 3-1 after last week’s semi-final first leg at San Siro and Mourinho believes his opponents have become distracted by their fixation.
“When we came here in November (in the groups stages, when Barca won 2-0), the fans were already singing ‘we’re going to Madrid,” Mourinho said. “What I want to say to my players is to follow the dream, not make it an obsession, because for us this is a dream and not an obsession – for Barcelona it’s not a dream, it’s an obsession.
“A dream is about pride and my players will be very, very proud to reach the final in Madrid, Moscow, London or wherever, but for them it is different – they reached the dream by winning the final in Rome, by winning the final in Paris. Now it’s an obsession. And the obsession is called Madrid and Santiago Bernabeu.”
Mourinho worked as a translator and an assistant coach at the Catalan club under the Sir Bobby Robson and Louis Van Gaal, and remembers what winning in Madrid means for Barcelona.
“I was at the (Copa del Rey) final between Betis and Barcelona in 1997 (when the Catalans won 3-2 after extra-time), I was there as a translator but I understood it – to see Catalan flags at the Bernabeu and hear people shouting Barca was a huge thing for them,” he said.
“For Inter it is different – it has been more then 40 years since Inter’s players have been in a Champions League final, so it is a dream for Inter’s players and supporters. It’s not my personal dream, because I have won the Champions League before and even though I want to win it again and again, it’s a dream for Inter, not for me.”