Having questioned his players’ desire to stay up late celebrating their Serie A title on Saturday night, FC Internazionale Milano coach José Mourinho could only praise them after they serenaded their gleeful supporters with a 3-0 home win against AC Siena.
“I’m a bit angry because the team should already be in bed,” commented the Portuguese trainer after AC Milan’s 2-1 defeat at Udinese Calcio confirmed Inter as champions. A few bottles of champagne and not too much sleep later, the Nerazzurri stepped on to the San Siro pitch amid copious applause from the stands and proceeded to secure their 24th victory of the season with goals from Esteban Cambiasso (45), Mario Balotelli (52) and Zlatan Ibrahimović (76). “I am coaching a great group of people,” Mourinho said afterwards. “It’s a wonderful thing being the leader of such a fantastic team.
“I didn’t want to celebrate yesterday, but then my players told me that they had been waiting for ten months for that moment,” he added. “It was important both for the players and our supporters, and I really enjoyed seeing them so happy. It wasn’t easy to win and being here at San Siro tonight, seeing the fans’ joy and, most of all, president Massimo Moratti’s satisfaction, is really fantastic.”
After three consecutive Scudetti under Roberto Mancini, this represented Mourinho’s first in what is his debut Serie A campaign. “I prefer to keep a low profile,” he said. “I’m very happy inside but I try to keep my emotions under control. The fans were singing my name but I stopped them – even if I have to admit they made me jump for joy a little bit. Now we have to think about the new season; we have to be stronger because I’m sure all the other teams will strengthen. I’d like to have a few new players but I’m happy with my group. They’re friends – better than that, they’re a family.”
The triumph took Inter level with Milan on 17 titles apiece and Moratti has also expressed the hope that Mourinho can win back-to-back championships as he did at FC Porto and Chelsea FC. “It’ll be really difficult,” responded the 46-year-old. “Someone said it was obvious we would win this Scudetto, but Juventus in the first part of the season and Milan in the second were a real threat. I respect their work and if during this season I provoked them it was only a communications strategy – I never wanted to be disrespectful. I respect these two clubs and the fact that we were better than them makes me even happier and prouder of what my team has achieved.”