Mourinho pledges future to Madrid after semis loss


MADRID (AP) -Jose Mourinho pledged his future to Real Madrid on Wednesday despite failing to reach the Champions League final for the second straight season.

"If the club and the players want me to continue, I will," Mourinho said after Madrid bowed out 3-1 on penalties to Bayern Munich after the two-legged series closed 3-3 on aggregate.

"I'm super proud of them," Mourinho, who is contracted to Madrid until 2014, said of his team. "It's difficult for a team to reach the semifinals in two straight years and for a coach to reach six in eight years. We deserved to win."

Chelsea eliminated defending champion Barcelona on Tuesday, and Mourinho wished his former club luck ahead of the May 19 final at Bayern's Allianz Arena.

"I obviously want Chelsea to win, they were heroes to beat Barcelona with 10 men," the former Chelsea manager said from the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. "I'm proud of my players and we have to be strong but we were lacking freshness in an enormous game."

Chelsea rallied from 2-0 down with 10-men to draw 2-2 at the Camp Nou and eliminate the Spanish champions.

Much of the Spanish media and some of Barcelona's players labeled Chelsea's performance "anti-football" as the team sat back to defend and only try to score on the break, just as Mourinho's Inter Milan did to beat Barcelona in the semifinals on course to the 2010 title.

Mourinho, who has won two Champions League titles as coach, said those who criticized the Blues performance "knew nothing."

"Some people think they are the masters of the game and they will criticize Chelsea the way they criticized Inter two years ago. But they know nothing," Mourinho said. "They know nothing about character, they know nothing about effort, they know nothing how it is to resist with 10 men. I have my heroes at Inter, I have my heroes at Chelsea."

Mourinho was quick to defend the penalty misses by Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka - former world players of the year - by pointing to Barcelona star Lionel Messi's miss against Chelsea.

"It saddens me that you want people to forget that Messi missed a key penalty and point out that three players missed penalties today," he said.

Madrid will now turn attention to winning the domestic league after three seasons as runner-up, which is at least an improvement from last season when it managed only a Copa del Rey trophy. Madrid leads Barcelona by seven points with four games to play.


Paul Logothetis can be reached at:

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