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Inter give Mancini plenty to ponder

Inter Milan about an hour ago
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By ESPN Staff
Mar 22, 2011

Jose confident of progress

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho believes his team has the edge on Tottenham and is confident he can end their Champions League odyssey.

Mourinho hails Redknapp

Spurs' debut Champions League campaign has already delivered famous wins against Inter Milan and AC Milan, and the reward for Harry Redknapp's side is a glamorous last-eight encounter against Madrid.

Mourinho, who won the Champions League as coach of Inter last season, concedes he has some misgivings about coming up against the tournament dark horses but says he is at least approaching the tie with more relish than he did last year's last-16 encounter with former club Chelsea.

"I didn't want Chelsea-Inter, because last season it was difficult to play against Chelsea," Mourinho said. "I did it, and I did everything I could to help my team, but I was not comfortable. I don't like to play against my friends.

"Any team is difficult and any team is a motivation for us. Tottenham are a good team: they beat Inter, they beat Milan, they have ambitions, they have a very good team and a good manager.

"You can feel that it is a happy team, and happy teams are dangerous teams."

Asked whether Spurs could produce an upset and go all the way, Mourinho added on BBC Radio 5 Five: "It's possible. They have a not very easy draw, but they have not had an easy draw from the beginning.

"But I want to believe, with all respect of course, that their campaign in the Champions League will finish in the second leg at White Hart Lane.

"They have reason to be proud already, and I think they have a reason to fight us and to try to reach the semis, but I believe that we are a better team."

Spurs have failed to mount a title challenge in the Premier League this season despite the fact that the traditional big guns have dropped points with greater regularity than normal, and Mourinho believes this perhaps indicates a drop-off in standards.

"[In my first season at Chelsea] you had to win and win and win and win, and every point you lost you are in a difficult situation, because the top teams were winning a lot, in the same way that we are doing now in Spain," he said.

"At this moment in the Premier League they are losing a lot of points. Every team had difficult moments, so for me it looks like the top teams have lost a little bit."

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