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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 18, 2009

Carlo Ancelotti makes light of Mourinho feud

Carlo Ancelotti is hoping to use Chelsea's Champions League clash with Inter Milan as an opportunity to end his feud with Jose Mourinho.

• Full Champions League draw
• Raynor: Sparks will fly

The pair clashed several times in Italy last season before Ancelotti, in his final year with AC Milan, moved to Stamford Bridge in the summer. Former Chelsea boss Mourinho insisted Ancelotti was "no friend of his'' when the pair shared the San Siro stadium while Ancelotti claimed he was not a follower of the self-proclaimed 'Special One'.

The Champions League draw has now pitched the 'Normal One' against the 'Special One' but Ancelotti is hoping to draw a line under their antagonistic relationship and will ignore any of Mourinho's mind games ahead of the tie.

"If we don't have a good relationship, this game can be a good opportunity to return to a good relationship,'' said Ancelotti. "There were some problems, some questions and discussions in the papers. Only this. Nothing important.

"I'm not ready to play mind games. I never will be ready to play these games. I prefer to play football matches. I have experience of what he'll do. I think that, for him, it will be an emotional game. He did a very good job here in Chelsea so to play against Chelsea won't be easy for him. He will do his best to win.

"I said that Inter were one of the strongest teams in the second group, but we have to accept this draw. If we want to win the Champions League we have to fight against strong teams. I know Inter very well and they're a strong team, so I think they will be tough games.

"Mourinho did a very good job and maintained a very good relationship with these players. That's normal. They won things and this will be a reminder of those seasons. It was clear Ancelotti was taking extra care to avoid fuelling another row with Mourinho and tried to take the expected sting out of their meeting by claiming: "I think the match is Chelsea versus Inter, nothing else.''

Meanwhile, Ancelotti has admitted that his failure to find a place for Gianfranco Zola in his team at Parma lead to the Italian joining Chelsea in1996. Zola was a 'square peg' in Ancelotti's rigid system and quit Parma for Chelsea, where he went on to play over 300 games and become a legend at Stamford Bridge.

Now 13 years later their paths are set to cross again as struggling West Ham face Chelsea at Upton Park on Sunday and Ancelotti admits he made a mistake in not finding a role for Zola.

"Probably I made a mistake with him because I wanted to play 4-4-2 and I put the players in the right positions but he wanted to stay in the centre like a striker,'' Ancelotti said. "In that period, when there was this discussion, Chelsea offered him a good contract and he decided to go. I think it was a mistake. It was my first experience in Serie A and I was not able to change the system."

Inter president Massimo Moratti told the club's official website: ''For Mourinho to return to Stamford Bridge will be an added motivation. It will be a very strong motivation for him. It is better to feel strong motivations and against Chelsea there will be those.

''All of the teams can be beaten but it always depends on what we can do, hence, it will be very interesting to watch and experience this tie. It is useless to have fear and I don't believe we will experience that.''

Inter striker Samuel Eto'o believes the Nerazzurri's mediocre start to the competition will have no bearing on the outcome against Chelsea.

''Everything can change in two months,'' said Eto'o. ''The condition of individual players and of the team as a whole.

''Chelsea are an important rival but, in the knockout round of the competition, there is little difference between one rival or another.''

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