Mourinho backs Chelsea battlers after Real Madrid fail to set up Champions League showdown
07:55 GMT, 26 April 2012
Jose Mourinho described Chelsea's players as 'absolute heroes' after his Real Madrid side failed to set up a Champions League final reunion against them.
Mourinho's Real lost a penalty shootout against Bayern Munich, meaning the Germans will face Robert Di Matteo's men in their own Allianz Arena.
Bayern won 3-1 on penalties following a 2-1 defeat in the Bernabeu that left the tie 3-3 on aggregate after extra-time.
Dream over: Jose Mourinho watched Bayern Munich beat his Real Madrid side
Spot on: Arjen Robben scored a crucial penalty for Bayern in the Bernabeu
Mourinho said: 'Chelsea mean a lot in my life and I would like them to win the final. John Terry is missing, but Chelsea is there, which is the most important thing. Of course I want the Blues to win, but I have respect for the Reds of Munich.'
In a sideswipe at arch rivals Barcelona, he added: 'The Chelsea boys were heroes yesterday, absolute heroes. I know some people think Barcelona are the masters of the game and will criticise Chelsea like they criticised Inter Milan two years ago. But they know nothing about character, about effort, about a team with 10 men resisting tactically, physically, everything.
Familiar face: Robben will face his former club in the Champions League final
'That's why I have in mind the heroes of Inter and the heroes of Chelsea in this match.'
Former Chelsea winger Arjen Robben, who scored Bayern's crucial away goal, said: 'I am very pleased for Chelsea and very happy for the fans. If you had said before the semi-finals it would be a Bayern v Chelsea final, you could have won a lot of money!'
Battlers: Chelsea players earned praise from Mourinho for seeing off Barcelona