The Best Of Enemies!!! – “My Conflict With Jose Mourinho Is Only A Sporting One”
If there is ‘Love at first sight’, then there is certainly ‘hate at first sight’.
We can safely say that relations have been frosty between Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte from pretty much the moment the ex-Juventus boss arrived in England.
It started off with Mourinho describing Conte as “like a crazy kid” when he celebrates goals, something that he wouldn’t do (clearly forgetting that mad dash down the touchline at Old Trafford when he was Porto manager).
The feud intensified when Conte’s Chelsea hammered United 4-0 in October, with Mourinho claiming that the Blues boss showed a lack of respect – presumably by beating them heavily.
Mourinho complained that Conte’s touchline celebrations were over the top when Chelsea won 4-0 at Stamford Bridge in October and made his point over a prolonged handshake.
The Italian responded by defending himself and his club, something he’s repeatedly done in the face of barbs from his Portuguese predecessor, including about the order of fixtures Chelsea have faced.
The pair then clashed during an FA Cup tie in March as Conte reacted angrily to some challenges by United players.
After that last month’s FA Cup tie saw Chelsea fans abuse Mourinho, chanting ‘judas’ at him, he hit back by challenging Conte to beat his record of three league titles with the club.
The former Blues boss led the west Londoners to three Premier League titles during his two spells with the club, but with Conte seeming certain to be crowned a champion at the end of his first season at Stamford Bridge, they (Chelsea) have clearly moved on.
And Mourinho – now at Manchester United, of course – seems to have noticed.
Recently upon being asked about the rift between himself and Mourinho, Conte responded thus:
“I don’t see no problem, it is only a sportive competition between me and him. It is normal for there to be a conflict during the game but it is only a sporting one”.
The previous three meetings between these two, Conte has two wins – both with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge earlier this season – while his Atalanta side held Mourinho’s Inter 1-1 years back.
Clearly, would never know what this feels like, but for Jose Mourinho , the sight of Antonio Conte doing well with Chelsea must be a bit like seeing your ex with a younger, more attractive model.
Mourinho has picked fights with Arsene Wenger, Rafael Benitez, Pep Guardiola and Manuel Pellegrini in the past and if this season’s meetings with Conte are anything to go by, a new and perhaps the biggest rivalry in the EPL may have been born.