Barcelona 2 Inter Milan 0: Panic over for Barca as taunts rain down on Inter coach Jose Mourinho

‘Mourinho, go to the theatre,’ sang the Barcelona fans as normal service was resumed at the Nou Camp.

The holders outclassed Jose’s Inter Milan side and his comment about Leo Messi’s supposed ‘play-acting’ in a 2006 tie against Chelsea came back to haunt him.

This was Mourinho’s big chance to push Barca towards the Champions League exit, but instead the Catalans recaptured some of the form that saw them beat Manchester United in last season’s final. They will now go through if they avoid defeat in Kiev.

Barcelona's defender Gerard Pique (R) scores against Inter Milan

Don't let fear hold you back: Despite the attentions of Thiago Motta, Gerard Pique puts Barca ahead

Mourinho cocked his ear to the 98,000 Barca fans the second time they taunted him. It was an uncomfortable return for the coach who slid along the Nou Camp touchline to celebrate a Chelsea goal the last time he was in the visitors’ dug-out.

‘Barca were spectacular,’ he admitted afterwards. ‘Obviously Pedro is not Messi but he is a very good player. The story changed a little bit in the second half but in the end they were much better than us. They are so good at passing the ball around at pace.

‘But we can still win the tournament. Real Madrid think they are favourites, Chelsea think they are favourites, Barca think they are favourites. Being beaten by them doesn’t mean we can’t beat them in the later stages.’

Messi could afford a wry smile on the bench as the crowd wound up Mourinho. He was an unused substitute, along with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Inter Milan's Cameroonian forward Samuel Eto'o (2L) hugs Barcelona's French forward Thierry Henry

Embrace: Samuel Eto'o and Thierry Henry remember the old times

Their absence left Thierry Henry back in the role of central striker, flanked by Andres Iniesta and Pedro.

Inter’s Samuel Eto’o started against his old team and embraced former team-mates in the tunnel before being given an incredible reception by the home support. The niceties were soon forgotten as every Eto’o touch thereafter was whistled.

Henry looked especially motivated and on 10 minutes he flicked on Xavi’s corner for Gerard Pique to put Barca ahead.

Henry then had a shot beaten out by Julio Cesar and that was the cue for Barca’s second goal. Xavi spotted Dani Alves bombing down the right and found him with an exquisite pass inside Cristian Chivu.

Smiling assassin: Pedro triggers more Nou Camp celebrations by scoring Barca's second goa

Smiling assassin: Pedro triggers more Nou Camp celebrations by scoring Barca's second goa

The full-back’s first-time cross was bundled home by Pedro. In three touches, Barca had gone from the half-way line to 2-0 up.

There were more hugs for Eto’o as he came back on to the pitch after half time. His old club were killing him with kindness.

Mourinho brought on Sulley Muntari for Esteban Cambiasso but little changed. In a rare Inter foray, Eto’o had a weak penalty claim turned down as he was muscled off the ball by Alves after running on to a Milito pass.

Alves then reprised his part in the goal, surging down the right and planting a cross on to Xavi’s head. The Spain midfielder’s effort was palmed away by goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

Inter Milan's Dejan Stankovic from Serbia, center, reacts against FC Barcelona

At sixes and sevens: Dejan Stankovic leads the Inter inquest

Muntari brought down Henry and from the free-kick Alves forced Julio Cesar into another save.

Having cleared the resulting corner, Eto’o sprinted down the left but he ran out of steam and his cross-shot sailed wide.

His and Mourinho’s return had done nothing to make Barcelona regret their departures.

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