Mourinho returns to Chelsea in CL
Jose Mourinho’s return to Chelsea looks set to overshadow Barcelona’s continued defense of the Champions League title this week.
Barcelona needs only to stop Stuttgart scoring to progress to the quarterfinals but most of the attention from media and neutral fans has centered upon Mourinho’s visit to Stamford Bridge with Inter Milan.
A Champions League winner with FC Porto, Mourinho led Chelsea to its first two league titles in 50 years before leaving the English club in 2007.
He is on the verge of a third straight Italian league title with Inter and will have the chance Tuesday to salute the fans who adored him during his time in west London.
"I’m sure it will be a major sideshow and, quite rightly, he will get a fantastic reception," Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard said. "He is the most successful manager in our history and fans will want to pay their respects to him.
"Our fans will give him a great reception but, when the game starts, they will want to win. It’s simple."
Chelsea’s lineup is still mostly that employed by Mourinho during his three-year stint with the club, with Nicolas Anelka and Branislav Ivanovic the only first-team regulars to join since his acrimonious departure.
The Blues have not won the Premier League since Mourinho left, but trail defending champion Manchester United by just two points with a game in hand this season.
Chelsea is coming off a 4-1 win over West Ham and has no new injury problems to contend with, although leftback Ashley Cole is still out and third-choice goalkeeper Ross Turnbull will probably play because of injuries to Petr Cech and Hilario.
Inter won the first game of the home-and-away round-of-16 match 2-1 two weeks ago, so Chelsea must at least score to have a chance of progressing.
"I don’t think we have to score early," Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti said. "We need to play well, in a game with balance, because then we can still score in the last minute of the game."
Chelsea has not failed to score in 15 matches since Dec. 26 and is up against an Inter side reeling from its third and most shocking Serie A loss of the season.
Sicilian club Catania, coached by former Inter player and assistant coach Sinisa Mihajlovic, overturned a 1-0 deficit to beat Inter 3-1 on Friday with three late goals.
Inter drew 0-0 with Genoa in its previous Serie A game.
"Evidently it’s a period in which we’re having a tough time finding the necessary focus," Inter technical director Marco Branca said. "Evidently we’re not the same team from a month ago, but we know well how to bounce back.
"This 3-1 loss to Catania shouldn’t make us worried. Actually, it should provide extra motivation for the Chelsea game."
Mourinho will be free to sit on the bench after completing a three-game ban in Serie A.
Inter captain Javier Zanetti looks set to play in midfield, where the out-of-form Dejan Stankovic could be replaced by Thiago Motta.
Wesley Sneijder sat out training Sunday with a cold but should be ready to start in attack, just behind Diego Milito and Samuel Eto’o.
Eto’o’s old club, Barcelona, hosts Stuttgart on Wednesday with a crucial away goal in its favor after a 1-1 draw in Germany two weeks ago.
Olympiakos is at Bordeaux seeking to overturn a 1-0 deficit in Wednesday’s other match, while Sevilla needs only to stop CSKA Moscow scoring in Spain on Tuesday to progress.
Sevilla drew 1-1 in Russia in the first leg with a goal by Alvaro Negredo.