MILAN, Dec 8 – Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho was in customarily belligerent mood at Tuesday's pre-match press conference ahead of Wednesday's crucial Champions League encounter with Rubin Kazan.Inter must beat the Russian champions to guarantee progression from Group F to the competition’s knockout stages and go into the match on the back of a defeat to Serie A rivals Juventus on Saturday.
Mourinho has been roundly criticised in the press and on Monday Inter legend Sandro Mazzola, a celebrated playmaker for the club from 1960-1977, claimed the Portuguese boss would leave at the end of the season if Inter fail to progress.
"What role does Mr Mazzola play at Inter?" asked Mourinho when asked about those comments.
"I don’t want to know what he did before, but what he actually does now," added the former Chelsea boss after being told of Mazzola’s past.
"Does he sign my cheques?"
It was one of several tetchy responses Mourinho gave to questions from reporters with whom he has a fractious relationship.
During the short conference he twice responded: "Is that a question or a book?"
He refused to talk about the Juventus match, in which he was sent off in the first half for sarcastically applauding the referee following Juve’s opener, his team selection, their last Champions League match against Barcelona or his relationship with the club.
What he did say, though, was that Inter had to win but that they were not worried about opponents who left Barcelona with three points earlier in the competition.
"I can tell you that we have no fear whatsoever, we’re better than Rubin and I believe we’ll win," he said before also dismissing a question about the merits of topping a group over finishing second in it.
"We’re not even qualified, we can’t talk about finishing first or second in the group or playing the first leg (in the last 16) at home or away.
"What matters right now is qualifying and to do so we have to win, nothing more, just win."
One plus for Mourinho is that Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder has been declared fit to play, but he played down his own importance to the team.
"My team has played and won when I couldn’t help out. I don’t think it’s down to me when Inter win because they’ve won without me," Sneijder said.
"I’m just one player who will be available tomorrow. It’s a huge game and we have to win it whether I play or not."