Jose Mourinho breaks down his tactics from Inter Milan 3-1 Barcelona in 2010

Inter Milan v Barcelona - UEFA Champions League

In 2016, Jose Mourinho described his victory with Inter Milan in the 2010 Champions League as one of his favourite memories in football.

“Inter was an old team, a team of people who wanted to do it for their whole career. There had been frustration after frustration,” Mourinho told the Daily Mail.
“That final was the last chance for Materazzi, Toldo, Zanetti, Cordoba, Cambiasso. It was an old team. It was now or never. That really was a crazy journey.”

It really was. Mourinho’s Inter finished second in their group, only securing their place in the knockout rounds in their final group game.

Mourinho defeated his old team Chelsea in the round-of-16 before knocking CSKA Moscow out in the quarter-final.

Then came a semi-final meeting against the defending champions, Barcelona.

A 3-1 win in Italy in the first leg gave Inter the advantage but Barcelona’s away goal made things uncomfortable.

Inter Milan v Barcelona - UEFA Champions League

Mourinho breaks down Inter 3-1 Barcelona

Yet Inter produced a defensive masterclass at Camp Nou to reach the final, where Diego Milito’s brace against Bayern Munich secured a third European Cup for the San Siro club.

Nine years on and Mourinho still remembers the tactics he used to defeat Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona 3-1 in the semi-final first leg.

He sat down with The Coaches’ Voice to break down his system, and it makes for a fascinating watch.

One of the main priorities was handling Barcelona’s threat down the right, where Lionel Messi would cut in and create space out wide for Dani Alves.


Mourinho explains that Inter simply played a zonal system, where the left-back would pass Messi over to the defensive midfielder whenever the Argentinian went inside.

“We needed to be compact and not give them too much space,” Mourinho explains.

The second part of Inter’s plan was to score. Mourinho realised how important it was to try and take a lead to Camp Nou.


The Portuguese coach wanted his team to exploit the space left by the attack-minded full-backs Dani Alves and Maxwell.

Inter had fast players, including Samuel Eto’o and Maicon, and could get players up the pitch quickly.

Indeed, Maicon’s goal came after he burst forward from right-back.

“We had more chances to score a fourth than to be in trouble. We were totally in control,” Mourinho assessed.

Watch his tactical breakdown below.

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