Mourinho hopes China's enthusiasm inspires team win

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Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho waits for their match against Udinese during their Italian Serie A soccer match at San Siro stadium in Milan November 9, 2008.

BEIJING, June 10 -- Inter Milan head coach Jose Mourinho is confident the club's large Chinese fan-base will inspire his charges to victory in their Super Cup match against Lazio in Beijing on August 8.

"I know China's support of European football is enthusiastic," said Mourinho yesterday at the press conference in China's capital city.

"And I know there is ever-growing support for Inter.

"I hope they will keep enthusiasm for this match, whether they watch it on TV or in the stadium."

It will be the fourth time the Italian Super Cup has been played on foreign soil after the United States hosted it in both 1993 and 2003, and Libya in 2002.

The Super Cup will be played at the Beijing Olympics venue - the Bird's Nest stadium - both sides hope to produce a performance worthy of the venue.

"Everything in the stadium is impressive and I believe it will be an unforgettable match," Lazio team manager Maurizio Manzini said.

"The stadium became known to the whole world during the Beijing Games. We are looking forward to playing our best game there on Aug 8."

Inter won the previous edition of the cup against Lazio's city-rivals Roma in 2008, defeating the Giallorossi in a penalty shoot-out after a 2-2 draw and Mourinho is determined to defend the title with the strongest line-up possible, including two new signings Diego Milito and Thiago Motta.

"I'll field the best team for the match," said Mourinho. "The two new players produced great performances for their former clubs in the past season. They're important players for our improvement."

He also confirmed Sweden's superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will come to China despite being linked to a move to Barcelona.

China's soccer festival

The Italian Super Cup match will mark the end of a week-long pre-season soccer festival involving English Premier League sides Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham and Hull City and Chinese Super League outfit Beijing Guo'an.

Withthe Super Cup scheduled for the Bird's Nest, Beijing Workers' Stadium will host the other matches.

The Super Cup will be the Olympic site's first sports fixture since the Paralympic Games' last September.

With prohibitive hiring costs, a concert by movie star Jackie Chan early this month has been the only event held at the home of the 2008 Olympics.

Officials from the Beijing Football Association (BFA) admitted negotiations with the Italian side were so tough that the match was almost canceled.

"It was tough. The Bird's Nest offers the best facilities in various ways so the costs are higher than expected, which made for some disagreements between the two sides at the beginning," said Wang Hui, CEO of the event's organizing company.

"But Inter and Lazio are satisfied with what we have offered."

BFA President Yang Junsheng revealed high-level international soccer tournaments, like Super Cup, will be their future priority.

"We have been working hard to introduce high level international soccer matches in Beijing," said Yang. "The Super Cup, as well as other matches in August, is a very good start. We will continue to host more matches in Beijing in the future."

(Source: China Daily)