Antonio Conte had requested to meet Jose Mourinho in a private room to settle their differences but something tells me that this request will not be granted.
The combustible Italian with the quiet mien could do harm to the debonair Mourinho, who has a lot more on his plate at Manchester United than ever before.
We take a look at the history of verbal engagement and the simmering tension between Mourinho and Conte as they prepare Manchester United and Chelsea for their second meeting of the season.
October 2016 – Mourinho slams ‘humiliating’ Conte celebrations
It all started with what Mourinho must have thought to be ‘over-celebration’ and lip readers told us the former Chelsea boss told the incumbent, “You don’t celebrate like that at 4-0, you can do it at 1-0, otherwise it’s humiliating for us.”
November 2016 – How did Mourinho overlook Moses’ talent?
Conte questioned the decision of sending Victor Moses out on multiple loans when he was so talented. “I noticed his [Moses] potential from the first days of the summer retreat.
“Moses has important qualities: technique, physical strength, the ability to cover seventy metres of the pitch. I find it incredible that someone like him has been overlooked.”
February 2017 – Mourinho says Chelsea are a defensive team with 3-4-3 formation
With Conte’s revolutionary 3-4-3 blitzing all teams on the way to the EPL title, Mourinho insinuated that Chelsea had become a more defensive team because they now defended with more players than when he was in charge. “Chelsea are a very good defensive team,” Mourinho said.
March 2017 – FA Cup shenanigans
While Conte drew attention to the persistent and strategic fouling of Eden Hazard by Manchester United players, especially Ander Herrera; Mourinho spoke of how the game went before and after the red card to Herrera.
Conte said: He [Hazard] started the game, but he couldn’t play football. Everyone could see this so can judge the situation,” but Mourinho replied “Everybody can analyse from different perspectives but we all watch the match until the red card and after the red card. So we can compare the decisions of the two yellow cards, in this case with others which were not given.”
April 2017 – Conte says money does not answer all problems
With the EPL title within reach, Conte jibed away at the Manchester clubs, especially United, who spent almost 100 million on Paul Pogba. “I think this season it’s very important to understand that it’s not always who spends more money who wins.
“Otherwise, in this league, this season, the name of the team (who would win the title) wasn’t Chelsea or Tottenham or Arsenal or Liverpool. You understand? This season isn’t the only season the Manchester clubs have spent a lot of money. Look at the past. It’s normal.”
July 2017 – Mourinho tears out Conte’s hair after ‘Mourinho-season’ jibe
It was a sign of what was to come when Mourinho went down the familiar lane of hair or the lack of it. He had previously said of Pep Guardiola losing his hair because of the stress of coaching after Conte said in a press conference that Chelsea would not want to go through a season like Mourinho had in defending the 2015 EPL title. “Two years ago Chelsea finished 10th. That cannot happen again. We know the difficulty and for sure we want to avoid the Mourinho season with Chelsea.”
To which, Mourinho replied, “I could answer in many different ways but I’m not going to lose my hair to speak about Antonio Conte.”
January 2018 – The Clown Inference
“Because I don’t behave as a clown on the touchline, it means that I lost my passion?” Mourinho asked at a press conference in apparent reference to Conte.
And that clearly got under the Italians’ skin – “I think he has to see himself in the past – maybe he was speaking about himself in the past. Maybe, sometimes, I think that someone forgets what’s said in the past, which is his behaviour.”
January 2018 – A Low Blow from Mourinho
Mourinho clearly sensing a touchiness in Conte went for a below the belt blow and it achieved its purpose. “What never happened to me – and will never happen – is to be suspended for match-fixing. That never happened to me and will never happen.”
January 2018 – Conte describes a senile ‘little man’
“I think when there are these types of comments, comments where you try to offend the person and don’t know the truth, then you are a little man.
“In the past, he was a little man in many circumstances, he’s a little man in the present and for sure he will be a little man in the future. I consider him a little man and I consider him a man with a very low profile – one that could be suffering from senility…”
Added to all this aggro is the fact that both managers are under a fair bit of pressure with Guardiola and his City team running away with the EPL title and the attendant top-four joust. Just as points are on the line this afternoon at Old Trafford, so is reputation and that last word. Whose will it be – Mourinho or Conte?
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