Champions League

Mourinho: Lets sell players

2009-03-25 15:36
Jose Mourinho wants changes (AP)

Rome - Jose Mourinho has told Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti that he needs to get rid of several players if he is to guide the team to their first Champions League crown since 1965.

Speaking to Wednesday's Gazzetta dello Sport, Mourinho listed a number of demands in order to bring continental success to a club that has often disappointed on the European stage.

Despite winning the last three Serie A titles and leading the current championship by seven points, Inter consistently fail in Europe.

They have not reached the final of Europe's premier club competition since 1972 and have only once reached the semi-finals, in 2002-03, since the Champions League expanded in 1997-98 to allow non domestic title-holders into the competition - in fact their previous last four appearance had been in 1980-81.

But Mourinho believes he has the answers to the Inter conundrum, amongst them developing young players, reducing the squad size and improving their training facilities.

But Mourinho doesn't want any short term signings.

"With four more over 30s I wouldn't stay here but with four top players I would accept the challenge," said the former Chelsea boss.

"For sure I don't want to work with 29 players any more hence we also have to sell players."

That could mean a lot of departures in the summer as Mourinho wants to develop young players such as his teenage pair Mario Balotelli and Davide Santon, both currently cementing regular places in the starting line up.

But Mourinho also wants his training facilities to be revamped.

"First things first Inter needs to improve the level of its working conditions," said Mourinho.

"Starting with Pinetina (the training complex) where we have to change not only the training pitch but also the structure to allow our players to give their best.

"The team needs a bigger margin of improvement. When you have two young players like Balotelli and Santon with a huge potential to improve you can't settle for that, we need to have four or five of these players next year.

"A team that looks to the future as well as the present needs to see things in a different way."

Aiming for the future rather than simply looking for short term success is a hard sell in Italy, particularly at a club like Inter which suffered in AC Milan's shadow since the end of its glory years in the 1960s.

From the end of the 1965-66 season to the start of the 2005-06 season, Inter won three Serie A titles and no European Cups or Champions League crowns while Milan landed nine titles and Europe's premier trophy five times.

But Mourinho admits it's not easy to convince Moratti to take a long-term approach, even though he says it worked for him in the past.

"Right now he's mulling over what I told him. He's analysing my thoughts and desires," said Mourinho.

"We need more young players with potential. And even if this means losing something in our potential to win right now I believe it's a risk we should not be afraid of.

"We're working for us, for our future. I don't want to just promote myself, winning tomorrow and then leaving my successor with a group of players that have no potential.

"When I arrived here I had a group in which I had to leave five players out of the Champions League list (of 25 players).

"When I leave here there won't be this problem. The ideal group is one in which no-one feels excluded.

"It's a path that takes courage to pursue.

"I'll give you an example, when (Luis Felipe) Scolari arrived at Chelsea (just under a year after Mourinho left) he said he had never found a club as organised with a squad as professional and with as much potential - that made me proud.

"When I take a job I work for the club, not just for me."

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