Jose Mourinho will not change – he will continue to insinuate, prod, and goad reactions from fellow coaches as he seeks to deflect attention from his own team.
This season, it seems it is Chelsea’s Antonio Conte that is the main target.
Since the beginning of the season, he has been goading the Chelsea manager, starting with his disdain for Conte’s 3-4-3 formation that won the English Premier League last season.
“We know that if you look in a pragmatic way, you see the last winners of the Premier League, the last winners of the Premier League, they did not play attacking football”, Mourinho had said in September.
“They played defensive football and counter-attack football”, he added.
Mourinho has lately been accused of being ultra-defensive especially when away to other title contenders. His start away against top six EPL contenders since 2015 shows he lost five, drew five; scored four and conceded 16 goals.
Last weekend, Manchester United were away at Liverpool and United managed just one shot on target throughout the match even though they boasted the EPL’s leading goal scorer in Romelu Lukaku.
The dour 0-0 draw led to Jurgen Klopp saying the way United played would not be accepted by Liverpool fans.
“Manchester United came here for a point and got it,” Klopp told Sky Sports. “For sure you could not play this way at Liverpool but it’s ok for Manchester United”, he added.
But after beating Benfica 1-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday, Mourinho reacted to the many pundits who have labeled him defensive.
“I feel that sometimes defending properly is seen as a crime – but it is not.”
And he continued: “And there is another situation, maybe I’m guilty of it: I never speak about injuries.
“Other managers, they cry, they cry, they cry when some player is injured. I don’t cry.
“I think the way to do it is to ignore the players that are injured, is to focus on the players that are available. It is to give confidence to the players that are available.”
This then got a reaction from Conte, who was asked his opinion in his post-match press conference after Chelsea held Roma to a 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge.
He was asked if he had read what Mourinho said about injuries affecting his team. Conte asked the journalist, “Do you think that is for me?”
To which the journalist replied yes.
He then said: “A lot of time Mourinho has to see what happens at Chelsea”, Conte began.
“A lot of time, also last season. I think he has to think about his team and stop… to look at himself, not the others,” he added.
Chelsea and Manchester United are billed for their first meeting on November 5 at Stamford Bridge, in what should be a cracking affair and do not expect to see handshakes after that match.
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