Mourinho: Chelsea should not fear Inter

ROME - Premier League leaders Chelsea will have no trepidation about facing Inter Milan in the Champions League last 16, Inter coach Jose Mourinho said.

Mourinho, who will make his first return to Stamford Bridge as an opposition manager since his departure in 2007, is still highly regarded by Chelsea fans having won two Premier League titles in three seasons with the west London club.

"I exclude the possibility that they (Chelsea) are afraid of Inter because they are a winning group who have played together since 2004," Mourinho was quoted as saying by Monday's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"At the most they might curse fortune, which could have given them an easier opponent than us," he added after Sunday's 1-0 win over Lazio that took his side eight points clear at the top of Serie A.

Mourinho said he believed the few changes to the Chelsea team since his departure would help him ahead of their first leg meeting on Feb. 24 at the San Siro.

"I won't need to study them. With the addition of (Branislav) Ivanovic and (Nicolas) Anelka, they are my old team. (Chelsea manager Carlo) Ancelotti knows Inter too. But I might go and see a game during the (Serie A winter) break."

Mourinho rejected speculation that midfielder Patrick Vieira could leave Inter in the January transfer window and told Roberto Mancini, his predecessor as Inter coach, to enjoy his new job in charge of Manchester City.

"It will be an unforgettable experience for him," he said. "Mancini is a good coach and he has a president who spends a lot. I don't see why he should not be happy in England."