APPIANO GENTILE - José Mourinho met the press on the eve of Inter's opening match of the 2009/10 Tim Cup against Livorno. Inevitably, the first few questions were about what happened between Mourinho and Corriere dello Sport journalist Andrea Ramazzotti after Atalanta-Inter. "I thank you for giving me the opportunity to say something because from Sunday until today I have heard and read many things from many people and it seemed to me that there was only one truth and that it belonged to someone," said Mourinho. "I want to be honest as always and say that it's true that I insulted one of your colleagues, it's true that I used an offensive word I can't repeat here, but it's not true that I attacked the journalist.
"Three or four matches ago I told Mr Ramazzotti that I didn't want him near the team's bus listening to the interviews, and then I repeated it to him. I repeated it to him in Barcelona, and again, after the match in Bergamo where, for the first and last time, instead of calling 'mister', I called him in another way. This is my version. It's a pity Mr Ramazzotti isn't here, but he could say that what I am saying now is true. This is the consequence of a situation that I didn't like. Why didn't I apologise publicly to the journalist? Our dispute didn't take place in a public situation. There was no one besides myself, Roberto Scarpini and the journalist. Everything can be resolved between men. But I'd like to close this story now and the best way to do it is with good humour and tell him that I'm expecting a Christmas present from him because until today the famous Ramazzotti was (Italian singer) Eros, but for several days it has been Andrea."
The Italian FA will open an investigation into the incident, but Mourinho is calm. "In the near future I will go with the club's vice managing director Stefano Filucchi and give my statement to the public prosecutor, and I will say exactly the same things. They would already have sent me packing in England? There it would be impossible to see a journalist listening to the interviews by the team's bus. The offence towards your colleague was the first in my career, and I hope it's the last. The punishment that I will accept without any problems will be the one from my club, but on a sporting justice level I think it's ridiculous to judge something that is completely outside of that environment. What will change in my rapport with the press? Nothing. I will be present in press conferences before and after matches."
Mourinho told the Italian press that he is far from nervous. "I just think that some important things happened in the game with Juventus that the media forgot too quickly, making the Olimpico match seem a normal match," he said. "I kept my mouth shut for a week, but after that game I was expecting a completely different analysis. I haven't liked this week. I haven't spoken, but now I am communicating again, I will be on the bench tomorrow and I promise that I will finish the match there, and I will only get up to communicate with my players."
The Inter coach eventually got round to commenting on the kind of match he's expecting against Livorno tomorrow: "Inter will have one foot forward and one foot back, because we have already played against Livorno and it wasn't easy, because Livorno eliminated a semi-finalist last year, because they are a team that is improving, because they won against Catania - another team fighting for the same goals, and because I always think that small clubs see the Coppa Italia as a chance to win something extraordinary. Player rotation is obligatory. Zanetti, Cordoba and Materazzi are disqualified and there are other players who will go on the bench. Then there's Donati and Stevanovic - two Primavera players who could have their chance."