Say what you like about Jose Mourinho, but he certainly knows how to make a statement.

The Portuguese manager did not celebrate either of his side’s goals as in their Champions League second round first leg in Milan, as a mark of respect to his former club.

Just when a fresh dose of canny sound bites and sly digs at his opposite number in the pre-match build-up was in danger of veering into self-parody, Mourinho gave a magnanimous display in the Inter dugout as his team put the quarter-finals in their sights.

He is too shrewd to do anything that might dent his popularity with his adoring fans at his former club. When visiting supporters milling around the Piazza del Duomo are chanting a former manager’s name, some two-and-a-half years after he left, you know they must be doing something right.

It is clear that there is an enmity between Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti, but there was little air of self-satisfaction in his reactions during or after the match.

All of which must grate with Ancelotti much more than any overtly brash celebrations would have done.

The latest man to step into Jose’s shadow at Stamford Bridge saw at first hand how, no matter how well he is doing in his first season at the club, he has a long way to go before he is judged on his own terms by employer, media and fans alike.

There was something saddening about seeing such an intelligent and dignified man return to the scene of so many of his past glories and seem so utterly isolated. This is the kind of effect that no manager other than Mourinho can have on an 85,000-seater stadium.  

The real worry for the Chelsea boss now is that the same effect will take hold of the return leg in west London, only magnified. The media clamour seen in Milan will increase tenfold as just grateful to have him back, if only for a fleeting visit.

There will no doubt be more quotes about how he plans to return to Chelsea one day, perhaps adding how he regards London as his home. He may reveal how he phoned Petr Cech to check up on his injury scare right after the first leg, describe the Manchester City job as an exciting challenge, or mischievously endorse Rafael Benitez while stressing how he has never experienced troubles like his one-time counterpart in his own career.

And all this will preface the hero’s welcome he will inevitably receive when he walks out on to the turf in SW6. It’s just a shame that, such is the protracted nature of the trudge through the last 16, we have to wait three weeks for it to happen.

Say what you like about the Europa League, but at least that competition isn’t stretching its two-legged second round over FIVE weeks, so you are guaranteed closure from tonight’s matches.

Fulham travel to Donetsk to face defending champions Shakhtar, Everton visit a decent Sporting Lisbon outfit, while Liverpool will resume their struggle against Romanian giants Unirea Urziceni.

All three teams take one-goal advantages into their second legs, but the pressure is inevitably on Liverpool to come through at a ground where Sevilla lost earlier in the season and Rangers failed to avenge the 4-1 mauling dished out to them at Ibrox.

Rafael Benitez is persisting with is ‘softly, softly’ approach as he introduces Fernando Torres back into action. Having learned nothing from his overbearing mother act with Alberto Aquilani, he will start Torres on the bench in Romania despite the Spain international getting 15 minutes against Manchester City at the weekend.

“He needs match fitness and has to play and train, and we will see later on how he is coming along,” Benitez said.

Obviously, the best place for Torres to gain match fitness is on the bench. Rafa’s English as infinitely better than ED’s Spanish, but someone needs to explain to him exactly what ‘match fitness’ means.

CLARKE CARLISLE’S WORD OF THE DAY: The Burnley defender convincingly won his first appearance on Countdown, and returns today as reigning champion. The pick of his words came from this set of letters: S W G E I O D R S. Carlisle picked up seven points for ‘dossier’.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It was a goal kick. You could see that from the halfway line. This sort of thing does my head in at times.” – Neil Warnock was at it again following in their FA Cup replay. That persecution complex could be winging its way to Loftus Road very soon.

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD OF THE DAY: A Scottish clothing company has been warned by police over . Police have warned proprietors of the Slanj clothing store in Aberdeen that the garment could cause offence. The t-shirt is described on Slanj’s website as “A light hearted dig at our English neighbours and their prospects in the forthcoming World Cup, not that we’re bitter or anything, just because we didnae qualify!”

FOREIGN VIEW: Controversial Moroccan defender Youssef Rabeh, who has been missing from his new Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala since the weekend, has broken his silence to say he was ending his career: “I’m going to quit football, you’ll not see me again. I don’t like it at Anzhi and as far as I know Levski (Sofia) will receive the money from my transfer. .”

Early Doors knows little of the world outside the Eurosport office, having been chained to its desk and forced to subsist on a thin gruel of UHT milk and cardboard. It cares little for football itself, preferring to focus on the childish histrionics and self-regarding largesse of those involved in the game. Its primary interests are training-ground bust-ups, Baby Bentleys and deluded chairmen. Like many Premier League players, Early Doors refers to itself only in the third person.

Put your knowledge of European football to the test with our game.

Put your knowledge of Spanish football to the test with our Fantasy La Liga game.

Read the article on Yahoo! Eurosport

Early Doors – Your morning briefing blog

Say what you like about Jose Mourinho, but he certainly knows how to make a statement.

The Portuguese manager did not celebrate either of his side’s goals as in their Champions League second round first leg in Milan, as a mark of respect to his former club.

Just when a fresh dose of canny sound bites and sly digs at his opposite number in the pre-match build-up was in danger of veering into self-parody, Mourinho gave a magnanimous display in the Inter dugout as his team put the quarter-finals in their sights.

He is too shrewd to do anything that might dent his popularity with his adoring fans at his former club. When visiting supporters milling around the Piazza del Duomo are chanting a former manager’s name, some two-and-a-half years after he left, you know they must be doing something right.

It is clear that there is an enmity between Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti, but there was little air of self-satisfaction in his reactions during or after the match.

All of which must grate with Ancelotti much more than any overtly brash celebrations would have done.

The latest man to step into Jose’s shadow at Stamford Bridge saw at first hand how, no matter how well he is doing in his first season at the club, he has a long way to go before he is judged on his own terms by employer, media and fans alike.

There was something saddening about seeing such an intelligent and dignified man return to the scene of so many of his past glories and seem so utterly isolated. This is the kind of effect that no manager other than Mourinho can have on an 85,000-seater stadium.  

The real worry for the Chelsea boss now is that the same effect will take hold of the return leg in west London, only magnified. The media clamour seen in Milan will increase tenfold as just grateful to have him back, if only for a fleeting visit.

There will no doubt be more quotes about how he plans to return to Chelsea one day, perhaps adding how he regards London as his home. He may reveal how he phoned Petr Cech to check up on his injury scare right after the first leg, describe the Manchester City job as an exciting challenge, or mischievously endorse Rafael Benitez while stressing how he has never experienced troubles like his one-time counterpart in his own career.

And all this will preface the hero’s welcome he will inevitably receive when he walks out on to the turf in SW6. It’s just a shame that, such is the protracted nature of the trudge through the last 16, we have to wait three weeks for it to happen.

Say what you like about the Europa League, but at least that competition isn’t stretching its two-legged second round over FIVE weeks, so you are guaranteed closure from tonight’s matches.

Fulham travel to Donetsk to face defending champions Shakhtar, Everton visit a decent Sporting Lisbon outfit, while Liverpool will resume their struggle against Romanian giants Unirea Urziceni.

All three teams take one-goal advantages into their second legs, but the pressure is inevitably on Liverpool to come through at a ground where Sevilla lost earlier in the season and Rangers failed to avenge the 4-1 mauling dished out to them at Ibrox.

Rafael Benitez is persisting with is ‘softly, softly’ approach as he introduces Fernando Torres back into action. Having learned nothing from his overbearing mother act with Alberto Aquilani, he will start Torres on the bench in Romania despite the Spain international getting 15 minutes against Manchester City at the weekend.

“He needs match fitness and has to play and train, and we will see later on how he is coming along,” Benitez said.

Obviously, the best place for Torres to gain match fitness is on the bench. Rafa’s English as infinitely better than ED’s Spanish, but someone needs to explain to him exactly what ‘match fitness’ means.

CLARKE CARLISLE’S WORD OF THE DAY: The Burnley defender convincingly won his first appearance on Countdown, and returns today as reigning champion. The pick of his words came from this set of letters: S W G E I O D R S. Carlisle picked up seven points for ‘dossier’.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It was a goal kick. You could see that from the halfway line. This sort of thing does my head in at times.” – Neil Warnock was at it again following in their FA Cup replay. That persecution complex could be winging its way to Loftus Road very soon.

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD OF THE DAY: A Scottish clothing company has been warned by police over . Police have warned proprietors of the Slanj clothing store in Aberdeen that the garment could cause offence. The t-shirt is described on Slanj’s website as “A light hearted dig at our English neighbours and their prospects in the forthcoming World Cup, not that we’re bitter or anything, just because we didnae qualify!”

FOREIGN VIEW: Controversial Moroccan defender Youssef Rabeh, who has been missing from his new Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala since the weekend, has broken his silence to say he was ending his career: “I’m going to quit football, you’ll not see me again. I don’t like it at Anzhi and as far as I know Levski (Sofia) will receive the money from my transfer. .”

Early Doors knows little of the world outside the Eurosport office, having been chained to its desk and forced to subsist on a thin gruel of UHT milk and cardboard. It cares little for football itself, preferring to focus on the childish histrionics and self-regarding largesse of those involved in the game. Its primary interests are training-ground bust-ups, Baby Bentleys and deluded chairmen. Like many Premier League players, Early Doors refers to itself only in the third person.

Put your knowledge of European football to the test with our game.

Put your knowledge of Spanish football to the test with our Fantasy La Liga game.

Read the article on Yahoo! Eurosport

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