LECCE - In his post-match interview with Sky Sport Italia after Saturday's crushing 3-0 victory over Lecce, José Mourinho commented on the penalty foul by Stendardo on Ibrahimovic that resulted in a yellow card for the Swedish striker.
He said: "Unfortunately it's like this with us. They forget straight away. I was disqualified for using the word 'scared', so now I'll use the word 'strange'. Adriano's suspension was strange, the penalty Inter were denied against Torino at the Meazza was strange, and the penalty today, when it was 1-0 and could have had an effect on the game, was strange, and it's strange that you didn't show the penalty in your two-minute highlights. I'm always willing to talk with you after the match but I can say that in these two minutes you didn't show the penalty foul. All this is a bit strange but what can I do? I have to work."
On his team's performance at the Stadio Via del Mare, Mourinho commented: "We played a great match. I had told the boys that scoring in the first minute isn't easy but showing you can win is, and that's what they did. We saw a compact team with great spirit and fantastic concentration. I'm satisfied with the points, but also with how the team reacted after last weekend's result."
Mourinho fielded a Christmas tree formation against Lecce, with Ibrahimovic as lone striker, and the results are there to see. "The success of the system depends on the players, it's all a lot easier if they go on the pitch with the desire they showed today. I could have used Crespo or Balotelli alongside Ibra but I thought that Figo and Stankovic would be fundamental to find spaces between the lines and they are two extra players who give cover in front of Zanetti in defence. Figo played a good match for us. He hadn't played for a while but he was necessary for our equilibrium. The team worked well, we're happy and now Adriano, and perhaps also Cruz, will return."
Mario Balotelli came on in the final minutes for his first outing since the 2-1 win over Siena before Christmas. "I wanted to put him on to give him morale and make him understand that we are with him and that we believe in him," explained Mourinho. "I'm no different from all of you who are aware of Mario's great potential. I just want a more mature player with a different attitude, but the team needs him and it's a pity he can't be with us next week in the derby because he was a booking away from a ban today."
On the derby itself, Mourinho said: "I'm expecting a week like every other. Tomorrow I'm going to London to see Manchester United. The day after tomorrow I'll start training with a small group. There will be a full squad on Thursday but those who have played with their national teams will do light training. There's a difference of nine points between us and Milan now. I have the feeling that in two hours' time it will be six again but it's very important for us to play the derby with a six-point advantage."