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Mourinho: A 'bitter, twisted man'

Rob Hughes writes that Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho is a bitter and twisted man — and a successful one. On Saturday, during his team's scoreless tie with Sampdoria, Inter Milan was reduced by foul play and gamesmanship to nine men before halftime for the second match running. No matter, Mourinho applauded them, mocked the referee, and boasted that a team of his would have to be reduced to six players to lose a home game.

It marked the 130th consecutive time a team coached by Mourinho — from Porto to Chelsea to Inter — has remained unbeaten at home in league play. But, Hughes points out, "It is a run built on stubbornness and good organization, yet scarred by an attitude that is inimical to the game. What Mourinho was applauding from the touchline Saturday was a match without goals or grace. It was anti-soccer at its worst, aided by Sampdoria’s failure to make numerical advantage count, or even threaten to score."

Mourinho’s mind games against Sampdoria included prolonging the halftime interval by almost five minutes, leaving the opponents cold on the field and the match officials jogging nervously in the tunnel. Mourinho challenged officialdom by demonstrating, not for the first time, that his men will come out to play when it suits him. On Wednesday, Inter faces Chelsea -- the team that Mourinho built and the club that fired him -- in the UEFA Champions League round of 16.

Read the whole story at New York Times »

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