MILAN - José Mourinho heaped praise on his players and the support of the Giuseppe Meazza faithful after Sunday's 4-2 victory over Chievo.
He said: "The whole team and the fans won today. In the last twenty minutes the team showed courage, playing super football which was splendidly finished off by Ibrahimovic with two goals worth the Ballon d'Or, and the stadium won today.
"We scored right at the start of the first half but we played with the tempo of a training session. I wasn't happy duirng the interval. I wanted more pressing and a higher defence. We started well in the second half but when we doubled I think everyone in the stadium thought it was over. Players are human beings and there can be situations where they relax, and we fell asleep. Their first goal is an example of all this.
"At 2-2 we could have continued by trying to win with luck or by changing and risking. We changed. At that point I thought the game would have finished 3-2 but I didn't know if it would be a victory for us or a victory for Chievo. The team came through this moment with courage, without fear, with lots of confidence, and changed the intensity of play, and our concentration returned to the maximum. We were under pressure and thanks to the atmosphere inside the stadium, with the support of our fans, we put Chievo under pressure.
"I think Figo was fantastic. Let's not forget that he's a former Ballon d'Or winner. He has personality, he fears nothing and no one. He made the difference playing on the right with Maicon and also thanks to Stankovic's moves into space. Our play led to Zlatan's two goals.
"The whole team won. The coach must be brave, he can read the match with or without courage, he has responsibilities, but I remain hidden on the bench, which is a nice warm place, and the players are on the pitch with the pressure of the fans. Luckily the fans were our twelfth man and we played the last twenty minutes with great intensity and we didn't fear the situation. I think it's easier for individuals to do well when they all play at the high level they played at today. And so it was for Ibra. There's always a link between an individual performance and the performance of the team. In the first half Zlatan played with the tempo and concentration of a training session, like all the others. In the second half, at the start and especially at the end, the team played superbly and he scored two fantastic goals. Luckily the shot for his second goal went in and didn't hit the Chievo keeper, otherwise it would have had his head off - it was that strong."
On the exceptional performance of Dejan Stankovic, Mourinho commented: "From day one I have always been very honest with him. I told him that his personal relationship with Roberto Mancini was a logical consequence of many years together, but that he could also play well for another coach - me. Dejan is a professional and he works very very hard. He's playing with great confidence at the moment and the team needs him. Unfortunately his yellow card today means he will miss the match against Siena. I don't think he deserved that yellow card, but it's not a problem because we have many different options."
Mourinho explained his decision to send Adriano back to South America to recover from the injury he sustained against Werder Bremen last Tuesday. "Adriano will return to Brazil earlier because he is injured. He can't play in Siena so we all think it's better for him to heal a muscular injury in a thirty-degree temperature in Brazil than zero degrees in Milan," he said. "Furthermore, with everything that has been said about him in the week, from a psychological point of view it's better for him to be there. As coach of Inter, I want Adriano with me from 2 January. These 39 points in the table are his merit too and I'm thinking about the match against Juventus, in which he was very important."