Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Inter can go all the way, says Sneijder

Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder believes his side can reach the Champions League final after they knocked Chelsea out to reach the quarter-finals tonight.

Samuel Eto'o scored the only goal in the 79th minute to make it a happy return to west London for former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, whose side were 2-1 winners in the first leg.

Eto'o struck after an angled through-ball from Sneijder picked out his run and the Cameroon striker stabbed the ball past Blues goalkeeper Ross Turnbull.

Chelsea's hopes of scoring twice to force extra-time were effectively killed off when Didier Drogba was dismissed after appearing to rake his studs down the ankle of Inter's Thiago Motta.

Sneijder now believes Inter could go all the way to the showpiece match in Madrid in May.

He told Sky Sports: "This is an important result. Chelsea are one of the biggest teams in the world and to beat them, it's a big step. In Italy it's an important time, but we are still not in the final."

Asked if Inter could reach the final, the Dutchman added: "We can do it when we play like today, of course we can do it."

Sneijder felt Inter were good value for the win.

He said: "They (Chelsea) want to fight and they did it in the first half but we dominated the whole game and there wasn't any danger for us.

"We knew we had to create chances and they came finally, really we should have scored more - two or three.

"In the first game we were a bit lucky but today we deserved to win."

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti - formerly coach of Inter's rivals AC Milan - had no complaints about the result, refusing to comment on his side's unsuccessful penalty appeals or Drogba's red card.

"I think we didn't play how we wanted to," he said. "Inter put some pressure on our midfield and we had a lot of difficulty playing.

"Inter played a very good game, strong in defence, good on the counter-attack, and we didn't play how we wanted."

Ancelotti had no real complaints about the outcome, however.

Asked whether Inter deserved it over two legs, he told Sky Sports: "I think we played better in the first game and now were not able to repeat the same play, so Inter deserve to win. Congratulations to Inter."

Mourinho's public celebrations were muted as he disappeared quietly down the tunnel just as the referee blew for full-time, but he admitted he did allow himself to enjoy the result behind closed doors.

He told Sky Sports: "I celebrated a lot in the dressing room when the game was over. It was a big victory for my team.

"As I have said before, I am a professional, I love Chelsea, I love this stadium, I love these people but I am a professional.

"Who knows, in the future I may coach another English team and I will come here (again) as an opponent."

Mourinho felt his team were better than Chelsea in every aspect on the night.

"I think everything was superior," he said. "I don't think it was tactics, it was attitude on the pitch.

"They (Chelsea) had reactions of frustration, of a team that felt the opposition was superior. Our team started the second half in an incredible way.

"We were the best team by far. Chelsea is a great team, we know that and we came here knowing very well the way they play. We knew that if you don't control the game by having the ball you have no chance.

"Every player performed at the highest level to win here, this must be almost a perfect performance. We deserve so much this victory, we were the best team."

Asked how his team might now fare in the Champions League, Mourinho said: "I learned that we can beat anyone because Chelsea is not just anyone - they are one of the best.

"We can win at any stadium, but there are eight good teams (left) in the competition, and we could lose against anyone too."

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