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Obsession isn't a dream - Jose.

Byline: BEN HAYWARD

INTER Milan coach Jose Mourinho claims Barcelona's aim of winning the Champions League at the home of their bitter rivals Real Madrid has become an unhealthy obsession.

Inter lead Barca 3-1 after last week's semi-final first leg in Milan and Mourinho says a first European Cup title since 1965 would be a dream for the Italian side.

But for the Catalans, champions in 1992, 2006 and last year, a triumph next month at the Santiago Bernabeu, home of Barca's fiercest adversaries, has more to do with obsession than a dream, according to the former Chelsea coach.

He said: "When we came here in November (in the groups stages, when Barca won 2-0), the fans were already singing 'we're going to Madrid'.

"What I want to say to my players is to follow the dream, not make it an obsession, because for us this is a dream and not an obsession - for Barcelona it's not a dream, it's an obsession.

"A dream is about pride and my players will be very, very proud to reach the final in Madrid, Moscow, London or wherever, but for them it is different - they reached the dream by winning the final in Rome, by winning the final in Paris. Now it's an obsession.

"And the obsession is called Madrid and Santiago Bernabeu."

Mourinho worked as a translator and an assistant coach at the Catalan based-club under the late Sir Bobby Robson and Louis Van Gaal, and remembers what winning in Madrid means for Barcelona.

"I was at the (Copa del Rey) final between Betis and Barcelona in 1997 (when the Catalans won 3-2 after extra-time), I was there as a translator but I understood it - to see Catalan flags at the Bernabeu and hear people shouting Barca was a huge thing for them," he said.

Ace Jose "For Inter it is different - it has been more then 40 years since Inter's players have been in a Champions League final, so it is a dream for Inter's players and supporters."

The dream, however, is not his own.

"It's not my personal dream, because I have won the Champions League before and even though I want to win it again and again, it's a dream for Inter, not for me," he added.

Mourinho walked into the Nou Camp press room flanked by two burly bodyguards while his midfielder Thiago Motta was still addressing journalists.

But the former Chelsea coach missed his player accusing Barca, his former team, of being divers.

"We are used to seeing Barca players who dive a lot," the Brazilian said, having opened the dialogue moments earlier by stressing the importance of "measuring what we say in such an important game".

Mourinho "We are football players, we play clean, with the intention of playing really well and with the intention of helping the referee." Mourinho, who arrived shortly afterwards and stole the spotlight from his player as he sat down on the floor in front of his dark-suited minders, refused to believe Motta had said such a thing, but added fuel to the fire with further insinuations of gamesmanship from within the Catalan ranks.

"The only thing I told my players was that I wanted them to support the work of the referee and if the Barcelona players want to do the same, it will be easy for the referee," he said.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUSP
Date:Apr 28, 2010
Words:566
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