REAL MADRID manager Jose Mourinho admits it would be a dream to face Chelsea in the Champions League but hopes to avoid his old club until the final in May.
The prospect of Mourinho, linked with a return to west London following the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas, facing his former employers could be realised at today’s quarter-final draw in Nyon after both teams progressed in contrasting styles on Wednesday.
The Spanish League leaders cruised past CSKA 5-2 on aggregated, while Chelsea required extra-time to progress at the expense of Napoli following a barnstorming comeback.
Mourinho made a winning return to Stamford Bridge with Inter Milan two years ago but would prefer to delay renewing acquaintances with his former charges until 19 May at Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena.
Asked if he wanted to face Chelsea in the final, he said: “I would love [it]. People can’t understand how much I love Inter and Chelsea and how much I love the boys and how much I wish them well.
“I know, if I get them in the quarters, or semis, or final, they will be a great opponent.
“I am so happy for the boys [Chelsea players], because they have incredible character. They have had a hard time, but now happiness is coming.”
Meanwhile, Frank Lampard, one of the stalwarts of the Mourinho era that yielded five major trophies in three years, claimed the spirited comeback against Napoli proved there is still life in Chelsea’ old guard which includes skipper John Terry and striker Didier Drogba.
“There is a lot of talk about old boys and their careers flickering out but these are the players who want to play, want to win. You could see that against Napoli. When you’ve got that, you can add to it with youth and quality players to fit in around the team. That’s the recipe and we have to carry on with that.”