Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho’s fixation with playing three up front will come under further scrutiny at home to Werder Bremen on Wednesday following Sunday’s 1-0 defeat by AC Milan.
The Champions League Group B clash gives the Italian champions an immediate opportunity to forget the derby loss, their first defeat under Mourinho, and to work on their malfunctioning forward line.
Mourinho, whose side won 2-0 at Panathinaikos in their opening group game, won two Premier League titles at Chelsea playing with two wide players supporting a forward and hoped he could replicate the formation at Inter.
He bought wingers Mancini and Ricardo Quaresma to complement striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic but so far the scheme has only worked in patches and failed against Milan. They were isolated from the midfield and barely threatened in the first half, while the introduction of strikers Adriano and Julio Cruz meant Inter lost any real shape. Inter prospered playing 4-4-2 under previous coach Roberto Mancini and Italian newspapers have made their first daring attempts at criticising Mourinho, but he is having none of it.
“When we win it’s thanks to the players, but if we lose it’s my fault. We have lost a match but for me there’s nothing to worry about,” said the confident Portuguese.
Meanwhile, a dreadful display of finishing meant Werder could manage no better than a goalless draw at home to Anorthosis Famagusta first up but their forwards have certainly improved since.
The last two Bundesliga games have brought 10 goals for Thomas Schaaf’s side, who followed up an incredible 5-2 win at Bayern Munich with a 5-4 thriller at home to Hoffenheim on Saturday. “The goals will give us self-confidence but we’re not naive,” Schaaf told reporters after Saturday’s victory at the Weserstadion. “We know we’ll have to improve a great deal defensively when we play Inter.”
Werder have no significant injury problems, with in-form midfielder Mesut Ozil likely to shrug off a slight knee problem in time to play.
Chelsea take trip against Cluj
Chelsea take a trip into the unknown when they visit surprising Romanian debutants CFR Cluj with both teams looking to extend their winning starts.
While Chelsea’s 4-0 win over Girondins Bordeaux in their opening match was always likely, Cluj’s 2-1 victory over AS Roma in their first ever match in the competition proper provided a major upset and alerted Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari to the potential dangers awaiting his side in Romania.