Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho has fanned the flames ahead of Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg against Barcelona by calling for referee Frank de Bleeckere to act upon any gamesmanship from the Catalan side.
Inter, who lead 3-1 from the first leg, were thought to have benefited from the rub of the green in terms of decisions last week in Milan, and Mourinho is even rumoured to have dined with Portuguese official Olegario Benquerenca.
The Portuguese coach was suitably vague when quizzed on that allegation.
"I work so much that I don't have time for any business," he said on Tuesday night. "Where was it supposed to be? Porto? They said Oslo before - I don't have time for such business."
Four years ago, Mourinho accused then Barca coach Frank Rijkaard of seeking out referee Anders Frisk at half-time to gain an advantage in a crucial Champions League match against Chelsea, an act which turned the Portuguese into something of a hate figure among the Catalan club's fans and also hastened the ending of the Swedish official's career.
And Mourinho, who was a former assistant coach at Barca to Bayern Munich's Louis Van Gaal - who he could face in this year's Champions League final after the Germans thrashed Lyon 3-0 on Tuesday night - and Sir Bobby Robson before him, hopes the referees will help Inter this time.
"The only thing I told my players was that I wanted them to support the work of the referee and if the Barcelona players want to do the same, it will be easy for the referee," he said.
That was a sly dig at Barca's gamesmanship and echoed the sentiments of Inter owner Massimo Moratti, who had earlier claimed that Barca were pressuring the officials.
"The Spaniards want to reach the final and they will try to put a bit of pressure on the referee," the Inter president said on Monday.
Barca coach Pep Guardiola, eager to taste Champions League success for a third time, says Barca need to stay true to their footballing philosophy to prevail tonight.
"It's a game of football, not a magic night, and we have to be ourselves - we will go out and try to generate as many chances as we always do," he said. "Inter doesn't matter, nor their great coach, nor their marvellous players - the only thing that matters is that we are ourselves."
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