BARCELONA - Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho held court at his old stomping ground on Tuesday, the exuberant Portuguese highlighting the debt of gratitude he owed from his time at Barcelona's Nou Camp.
Mourinho, who worked at Barca under Bobby Robson and Louis van Gaal in the 1990s, and Inter take a 3-1 advantage into Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg as the Milan club seek a first win in Europe's top competition for 45 years.
Mourinho cracked jokes with reporters, paid tribute to his former bosses and even found time to accuse the Catalan club of being obsessed with reaching May's Champions League final at the home of their arch rivals Real Madrid.
A former translator, Mourinho was assistant coach at Barca from 1996 to 2000 and went on to lead Porto to Champions League triumph in 2004 and win two Premier League titles with Chelsea and one Serie A crown with Inter.
"I owe (a lot) to Bobby Robson. Because he gave me the chance to work in Barcelona," the tanned 47-year-old, dressed in a black Inter sports shirt, told reporters crammed into the Nou Camp press room.
"I owe to Van Gaal. Because he wanted me to stay for three more years. And I owe to every person that worked with me in this club because they gave me a lot."
Pep Guardiola's Barca side are bidding for a third European crown in five years after triumphs in 2006 and 2009.
The final this year is at Real's Bernabeu stadium and Mourinho said the Catalan club were obsessed with making it through, whereas for Inter it was more of a dream.
"For Barcelona it's not a dream it's an obsession and there's a difference," he said.
"A dream is more pure than obsession. A dream is about pride. The (Inter) players would be very proud to reach the final. For them they reach the dream.
"It's not a dream for Barcelona, it's anti-Madridism. I am not criticising. I am just saying the truth."
The Portuguese was asked the secret of his success in combatting Barca's Argentine forward Lionel Messi, who is the top scorer in this season's Champions League but had a quiet game in the first leg.
He said it was down to his players and had nothing to do with him.
"Me against Messi would be 50-0 and I wouldn't touch the ball," he joked.comments