Friday, 8 May 2015

Jose Mourinho hails Lionel Messi: 'A team with that boy is a different team'


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Jose Mourinho has admitted, while there's no stopping Lionel Messi, making a game difficult is the only option
Jose Mourinho has admitted, while there's no stopping Lionel Messi, making a game difficult is the only option.
For all the differences in philosophy between Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager has revealed they are in agreement about one grand aspect of the modern game: Leo Messi is unstoppable, and the best anyone can do is just try and make it as difficult as possible for the Argentine.

Mourinho also believes that Messi alone would be capable of lifting any of the major clubs to the Champions League trophy, regardless of how far off Barcelona and Bayern Munich they currently are.

"I am saying that a team with that boy is a different team, is a different story," Mourinho said on Friday.

It certainly seemed like a new chapter to even Messi's remarkable story on Wednesday night, as he tore Bayern Munich apart with two brilliantly devastating goals, before setting up Neymar for a 3-0 victory.

It confirmed Bayern manager Pep Guardiola's pregame belief -- and fear -- that Messi is unstoppable.

Mourinho evidently agrees with that but felt no fear or envy that he wasn't involved in such a game, as he failed to reach the Champions League semifinal for the first time since 2009. He felt only awe, and visceral thrill at the nature of Messi's performance.


"This season was the first season for many, many years that I wasn't there, but, watching Messi, you don't miss being there!" the Chelsea manager stated.

"You enjoy it so much that you don't think about not being there. You just think about what the guy did."

Mourinho revealed it's not the only time Messi has given him cause for thought, but he didn't usually get to enjoy it. In what was a rare insight into how he plans for such games, the Portuguese said that the Barca playmaker had left him perplexed, before eventually concluding a defensive bulwark and a little luck were the best he could do.

"Every time I played against Messi, I spent hours studying and trying to stop him," Mourinho said. "Many times, we were successful, other times we were not successful.

"With Inter [in the 2010 Champions League semifinal], we stopped him in both matches -- Inter-Barcelona and Barcelona-Inter. The best way to [usually approach] is man-to-man because that is better than involving everyone," he continued.

"When you go man-to-man you go with similar power, although man-to-man with him is an impossible job. Like I say, sometimes I was successful, sometimes I was not successful."

"Every time I was thinking about how best [to] collectively -- I am not saying stop him -- give him a difficult match. I think this is the correct word. It is not about stopping him but giving him a difficult match. That is the best you do against him."

Mourinho also argued Messi makes the very idea of systems almost irrelevant. That certainly seemed the case for Bayern on Wednesday, as the playmaker eventually laid waste to Guardiola's plans.

On the other side, though, Luis Enrique's entire gameplan with Barcelona at this point appears to boil down to the imperious form of Messi.

"People think in the wrong way," Mourinho said. "One thing is a team. Another thing is a team with Messi. It is a different story. He [made] a Champions League final with [Frank] Rijkaard. He played a Champions League with Guardiola. He [if it goes as expected] is playing a Champions League final with Luis Enrique.

"So, when people analyse teams, you have to remember that this boy makes everything different. He makes everything different.

"I think this guy makes the gap by himself. You have doubts that [Manchester] City with Messi can win the Champions League? Or Arsenal with Messi can win the Champions League? Or Chelsea with Messi can win the Champions League? Or Man United with Messi can win the Champions League? Don't you think? I think.

"I am saying that a team with that boy is a different team, is a different story."

Messi is evidently on a different level.

ESPN FC

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