Mourinho plots Inter progress on special return

LONDON - Jose Mourinho, the self-confessed Special One, returns to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday plotting the Champions League downfall of the club he admits is still close to his heart.

"I will be there with my heart fully on either side. That's what a professional does," Mourinho, whose Inter Milan side will be protecting a 2-1 first leg lead in the last-16 clash against Chelsea, told "I don't hide that Chelsea are a very important part of my life."

NEWS: Ancelotti takes sting out of Mourinho return

Chelsea's second leg with Inter on Tuesday is the most intriguing of the week's clashes which also include reigning champions Barcelona at home to Stuttgart on Wednesday following a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Germany.

The Catalans warmed up with a 3-0 victory over Valencia on Sunday in which Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick.

Sevilla take on CSKA Moscow on Tuesday, also level at 1-1, while French champions Bordeaux will be favourites to reach the quarter-finals for the first time having won 1-0 in Greece against Olympiakos.

All eyes will be on Mourinho, however, as the charismatic Portuguese takes his place in the visitors dug-out at Stamford Bridge - just metres away from the seat where he orchestrated the greatest chapter in Chelsea's history.

"The good thing is that I don't have far to walk," he said. "From the dressing room to the bench is five metres. I don't have to cross the stadium, I don't have to feel the emotions from the crowd. I will just sit there and play my game."

Mourinho is assured a great reception by the fans who will be forever grateful for the two Premier League titles, two League Cups and one FA Cup he won in three seasons before his sudden departure in 2007.

But the sentimentality will end once the whistle blows.

Mourinho, who got his hands on the trophy with Porto in 2004, knows how desperate Chelsea are to land Europe's biggest club prize, having twice reached the semi-finals under him and losing to Manchester United on penalties in the final led by his successor Avram Grant.


Carlo Ancelotti, the latest coach entrusted with the task by owner Roman Abramovich, knows what it takes to win the Champions League, having done it twice with Inter's fierce rivals Milan.

Like most of the 40,000 fans wedged into Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, Ancelotti will know that Inter pose a serious threat despite stuttering domestic form simply because of who is in charge of picking the team.

Many of the Chelsea squad, including the likes of Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba, still hold Mourinho in high regard and Ancelotti knows he might be left in the shade a little before the whistle blows.

"Mourinho deserves to have a good reception because he did a fantastic job," says Ancelotti told Chelsea's website. "Together with Roman he put a team into the best position in the world.

"I just hope that in the future, in a very long time, when I come back to Chelsea, I'll have this same reception."

A Champ