Adriano Wallpaper (Internazionale Milan)
Mourinho effect enlivens Adriano.
After scoring the only goal of his side's victory against Anorthosis Famagusta FC on Wednesday night, FC Internazionale Milano striker Adriano attributed his Nerazzurri renaissance to the good work of his coach José Mourinho.
After falling out of favour with previous coach Roberto Mancini and being farmed out on loan to Brazilian side São Paulo FC, it seemed as though Adriano's Inter career was destined to end unfulfilled. However, since his return from his homeland and the arrival of Mourinho in the summer Adriano has started firing again, and after capping a fine performance with the 44th-minute winner at San Siro, the 26-year-old was quick to thank his new coach for his renewed fortunes.
"I'm feeling really good at the moment," he said. "I'm enjoying working with Mourinho, who has taken me aside in training and explained exactly what he wants from me. We've been working hard on that and I'm enjoying seeing a lot more of the ball at my feet now and playing one-twos with Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] and it's going really well. It's a shame we only won 1-0, but that's fine. The main thing was to win at all costs tonight and get three points. I think we're moving in the right direction."
Adriano certainly moved in the right direction when he rose early to meet Maicon's cross a minute before half-time. The former Parma FC forward had to crane his neck backwards in order to steer a firm header into the roof of Arian Beqaj's net. "I've come a long way since last season when I went to São Paulo," he added. "I was out of form and needed to go there to rediscover my old self again but it was an important step because I'm scoring in the Champions League again. I can't stop here, though, and I'll keep working to get back to my best."
Francesco Toldo is also back in favour under Mourinho and played well in keeping a clean sheet on his first appearance of the season. "It's a great relief to have come through this match because it was one of those games that if you don't finish them off by scoring two or three goals straight away they can get a lucky break, catch you on the counterattack, win a penalty – anything," he said, "but compared to previous matches of ours we looked a lot more secure. We kept a high line, formed 'a block' as [Mourinho] calls it and you avoid a lot more problems that way.