Antonio Conte has branded Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho a “fake” and “little man” as the current and former Blues managers’ war of words reached astonishing new heights today.
The rival Premier League managers have been locked in a bitter war of words throughout the season, with their verbal assaults getting more personal with each passing week. After the Portuguese appeared to imply Conte was a “clown” for his touchline reactions during games, the Italian hit back by suggesting the Man United manager was suffering from “amnesia”.
In turn, Mourinho brought up the fact that the Chelsea coach had previously served a suspension for failing to report match-fixing during his time as Siena manager in Italy’s Serie B (although a court ultimately exonerated him of all charges) – and it was this jibe that seems to have proved the breaking point for his Stamford Bridge successor.
Conte: “You are a little man”
In a news conference following his side’s FA Cup stalemate with Norwich City, Conte launched into a furious, and seemingly well-rehearsed, tirade aimed directly at the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’:
“You show you are a little man. A little man. You don’t know very well what the situation is. But I know him very well in the past. In the past, he was a little man in many circumstances, is a little man in the present and for sure he will be a little man in the future.”
The 48-year-old’s outburst didn’t end there, however; Conte also branded Mourinho a “fake” for what he perceived to be a two-faced treatment of former Blues and Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri. Mourinho famously wore a t-shirt to show his support for the ousted Foxes manager after he had led the club to a heroic Premier League title victory in 2015-16. However, Conte pointed to the fact that some years earlier, the Portuguese had mocked the competence and ability of his Chelsea predecessor to speak English.
The new year has seen a fiery escalation of the duo’s heated rivalry; which could well spill over when Man United visit Stamford Bridge next month.