Jose Mourinho has revealed what he told Pep Guardiola during the second leg of the Champions League semi-final in 2009-10, with the then-Inter boss telling the Catalan not to celebrate after Thiago Motta was shown a red card as the game was far from over.
Inter had convincingly beaten Barcelona during the first leg, recording a 3-1 win courtesy of goals from Wesley Sneijder, Maicon and Diego Milito, putting themselves in the driving seat ahead of a trip to Camp Nou just eight days later.
A 28th minute red card for Motta put a spanner in the works, however, and Mourinho claims that those on the Barca bench had been celebrating the dismissal as though they had already completed a comeback. The Nerazzurri, though, had other plans.
“When [Sergio] Busquets fell I was standing between our bench, theirs and the point where Thiago Motta had been expelled,” Mourinho told Gazzetta dello Sport. “Out of the corner of my eye I could see the Barcelona bench celebrating as if they had already won.
“Guardiola called over [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic to talk about tactics: tactics in playing 11 against 10. So I just said to him, 'Don't party yet, this game is not over'.”
Despite Barca recording a 1-0 win that day, Inter would go through to the final via a 3-2 aggregate score and beat fellow finalists Bayern Munich 2-0 to clinch the title.
While Mourinho's tactics are often criticised for being too pragmatic and not as entertaining to watch, the head coach revealed that it was not always his plan to sit so deep on that fateful night in Catalunya.
“The most iconic 'Defensive Mourinho' performance was the one at Camp Nou, but that Barcelona side had lost 3-1 at San Siro and we had earned the right to go and play against them however we wanted to,” the 57-year-old said. “If [Goran] Pandev hadn't been injured in the warm up, we would have played with Pandev, Sneijder, [Samuel] Eto'o and Milito.”
Massimo Moratti famously said that match was the most dramatic game of his life, but Mourinho says that he had little time to think about anything other than making sure his Inter side knocked the Blaugrana out of Europe's premier club competition.
“No, [it wasn't the same for me],” he said. “Because in the stands you have time to experience the drama, if you're on the edge you can pray, but on the field you have to find solutions.
“I said it was the most wonderful defeat of my career: we didn't lose 1-0, but rather we won 3-2 in epic conditions.”