Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Inter and Roma set for Coppa battle

Jose Mourinho has said he was not certain to stay at Inter next season as his team prepared for the first part of their assault on an unprecedented Italian treble.

Inter meet Serie A title rivals Roma in the Coppa Italia final on Wednesday evening but with the outspoken Mourinho giving a rare domestic news conference, questions about his future flowed.

Asked if he would stay next term, he said: "I can't say it, in football you can never say a thing like that."

The Portuguese has a contract with the UEFA Champions League finalists until 2012 but has consistently said he does not like the culture of Italian football, fuelling media speculation he could soon end up at Spanish giants Real Madrid or return to his beloved English Premier League.

Mourinho, who won the Scudetto with the Nerazzurri in his first season in charge last term, became so fed up with grillings from the Italian media and football authorities that he stopped doing non-Champions League news conferences two months ago.

The former Porto and Chelsea coach decided to waltz back to the stage today, given that the cup final was a special occasion, with his acid tongue in tow.

His main target was Roma President Rosella Sensi, who said Inter should be ashamed of their 2-0 victory at Lazio on Sunday where home fans cheered the goals because they want the league leaders to beat bitter rivals Roma to the title.

"The lady may be president, a doctor, she may be born in a golden crib but she must give us respect," Mourinho barbed, before criticising the long-made decision to hold the cup final in Roma's Stadio Olimpico home.

"They are lucky to play the Coppa Italia final at home, a unique thing in the world because I don't know any other national cups which finish at the home of one of the finalists."

Inter, meeting Roma in the final for the fifth time in six years with two wins each, will be without injured centre back Lucio while influential playmaker Wesley Sneijder is doubtful.

Roma coach Claudio Ranieri, whose side can still win their first double if they beat Inter in the cup and overhaul the Milan side's two-point lead with two games to go in Serie A, was in charitable mood by contrast.

The 58-year-old declined to discuss the Lazio controversy and played down his rivalry with Mourinho, who followed him as Chelsea coach and once labelled the Roman "a 70-year-old".

"My relationship with Mourinho is good, I admire him both as a coach and person, he's doing extremely well in Italian football as well, so really he deserves everything he's getting," Ranieri said.

He reckoned the match was "50-50" but acknowledged the fact the game was being played in Roma's Stadio Olimpico home could boost his players.

Ranieri will have all of his players available with the exception of out-of-favour goalkeeper Alexander Doni, who is injured.

Source: Reuters

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