Jose Mourinho pledges to stay on
MADRID -- Jose Mourinho pledged to remain at Real Madrid despite failing to reach the Champions League final for the second straight season Wednesday.
"If the club and the players want me to continue, I will," Mourinho, whose deal runs to 2014, said after Madrid bowed out 3-1 on penalties to Bayern Munich after the two-legged series closed 3-3 on aggregate.
Chelsea eliminated defending champion Barcelona on Tuesday, and Mourinho wished his former club luck ahead of the May 19 finale 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 it sat back to defend and look 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 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."
"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 now turns to at least taking the league title from Barcelona 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.
"I'm super proud of them. It's difficult for a team to reach the semifinals in two straight years and for a coach to reach six in eight years," Mourinho, a two-time Champions League winner, said. "We deserved to win."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press