inter 'nullified barca threat'

MILAN - Jose Mourinho praised his Inter Milan team for their play without the ball following their opening Champions League Group F 0-0 draw at the San Siro against champions Barcelona.

MILAN - Jose Mourinho praised his Inter Milan team for their play without the ball following their opening Champions League Group F 0-0 draw at the San Siro against champions Barcelona.

In a chess match of few chances, defensive discipline, little action but great tactical awareness, Inter contained the attacking flair of their swashbuckling opponents to come away with a valuable point on Wednesday.

Barcelona dominated possession, particularly after the break, but Mourinho insisted his team had controlled the match.

"From the bench I saw two teams with great respect for each other.

"Two good defences, good organisation, good concentration, few gifts for their opponents.

"In the first half the two teams were equal, in the second Barcelona were better, they had more possession, more control but against an Inter that controlled the game without the ball in a defensive sense. Barcelona are the best team in Europe.

"They're not just the European champions because it's not always the case that the best team in Europe are European champions but they are and so we did really well."

Barcelona had the best early chance when Zlatan Ibrahimovic got behind his former club's defence but sent a wild volley high.

After the break Inter came close with Dejan Stankovic firing just over the bar though Barca again had the best chance when Thierry Henry's fluffed shot almost found Danny Alves unmarked and six yards from goal only for Lionel Messi to stretch out a foot and divert it over the bar, denying his teammate.

But Mourinho insisted his team came as close to winning as Barca.

"For me it was a match that hinged on details where the minimum defensive error could have led to a goal and three points," he said. - Sapa-AFP

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