Mourinho eyes Chelsea stars

The new Inter Milan boss remains coys about whether he will target his former players.

    Jose Mourinho begins life as the
    Inter Milan coach [AFP]
    Jose Mourinho believes his former Chelsea players want to join him at Inter Milan.

    The Serie A champion's new coach would have to renew hostilities with his former boss Roman Abramovich to lure the likes of Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard from the London club.

    "I think it is normal ... that almost all of them want to work with me in the future,'' Mourinho said after being officially unveiled at Inter's training ground north of Milan.

    "These rumours are normal.''

    Any moves in the transfer market will depend on "if Chelsea wants to sell,'' said Mourinho, who agreed a three-year contract Monday to replace Robert Mancini.

    Mourinho was keen to downplay his self-styled "Special One'' nickname.

    "I believe I have arrived at a special club, and when the club is special, a coach becomes one of many,'' Mourinho said.

    "I never forget that I am a great coach but I don't want to be special.''

    Secret targets

    The 45-year-old Portuguese manager isn't ready to reveal his transfer targets.

    "I want to start a cycle with the same team from last year, plus one, or two, maximum three new players,'' Mourinho said.

    "The team will be more or less the same as last year, but I think differently than Roberto.

    "This is far from being a criticism, because if Roberto were to go to Chelsea, things would change there. It's normal.''

    Mancini, who was fired last week despite winning a third straight Serie A title, has been linked to a possible move to Chelsea.

    Mourinho, who won the 2005 Champions League with FC Porto, suddenly parted company with Chelsea last September after failing to deliver European glory, despite winning two league titles for the London club.

    A new life

    "I will always, always, always support Chelsea and wish them all the best with their new coach, but if Chelsea meet Inter in the Champions League, then I won't know any of them,'' Mourinho said.

    "Chelsea is over for me, not in my heart, but in my thoughts. At this moment, I want to start a new life and I do not want to talk about Chelsea.''

    Mourinho said he was joining the Italian league at the right time.

    "The Serie A is not the best championship in the world,'' Mourinho said.

    "I believe that the Serie A is on a road that can bring it to be the best in the world.''

    Mourinho said 11 teams in Europe, four English, three Italian, three Spanish and one German, were targeting the Champion's League title.

    "I say without fear that Inter is one of the eleven,'' Mourinho added.

    With key members of his new squad at the European Championship in Austria and Switzerland, Mourinho will have to wait until July to start working on next season.

    "If I have waited seven or eight months, I can wait another month,'' he said, preferring to look ahead and not back.

    "Forget who has won. Who won, won. It's history. We need a new book,'' he said.

    Mourinho said he was looking forward to July 15 when the full squad will be assembled for the first time.

    "I am both easy and difficult to work with. It is easy for those who work well and know the team is more important than himself. It is hard for those who are lazy and who aren't team players.''

    Mourinho, who spoke fluently in Italian, was quick to catch on to a reporter's question about how long he'd been studying the language.

    "I am very smart,'' Mourinho said.

    "You want to know when Inter started to talk to me for the first time,'' adding that he has been studying Italian for about a month.

    Declining for a second time to name Chelsea players on his wish list, Mourinho even switched to the Milanese dialect.

    "I am not stupid,'' Mourinho said.

    Hughes for Manchester City, Ancelotti to Chelsea

    Meanwhile, reports suggest Manchester City is closing in on hiring Blackburn manager Mark Hughes as the replacement for Sven-Goran Eriksson, after the two clubs agreed on a compensation package.

    The agreement means City is free to pursue Hughes, who must still accept an offer from the club.

    Eriksson parted company with City on Monday after one season in charge, with owner Thaksin Shinawatra having expressed his disapproval of the team's results.

    The British press are also reporting that Carlo Ancelotti's advisers have agreed to a deal for the AC Milan coach to join English Premier League club Chelsea.

    It has been pointed out that Ancelotti hasn't been involved in the talks and the deal has not yet been finalised.

    Avram Grant was fired by Chelsea last month, days after losing the Uefa Champions League final to Manchester United.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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