Wednesday 26 April 2017

Conte refuses to be drawn into Mourinho mind games

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho shanks hands with Chelsea manager Antonio Conte during the EPL Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, London, England on 23 October 2016. (Photo by Kieran Galvin/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho shanks hands with Chelsea manager Antonio Conte during the EPL Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, London, England on 23 October 2016. (Photo by Kieran Galvin/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Matt McGeehan

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte refuses to be distracted by the mind games deployed by managerial rivals including Jose Mourinho, saying talking does not win games.

Mourinho's Manchester United visit Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup quarter-final on Monday night.

Conte said: "I'm very focused on the pitch. The mind games don't bring you to win, above all if you face a team who is focused."

Chelsea lead the Premier League by 10 points and United are sixth, 17 points behind.

Former Chelsea boss Mourinho's United were beaten 4-0 by Conte's Blues at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League in October.

The self-proclaimed Special One afterwards turned his ire on Conte, his successor at Chelsea, after taking exception to the Italian geeing up the crowd when the Blues were already four goals ahead.

It took some of the attention away from United's poor performance, but Conte sees no reason to address the subject of his exuberance with Mourinho prior to Monday's match.

Former Juventus and Italy boss Conte added: "No, no. I don't think it's important. (There is) nothing we have to clarify with him.

"I've shown at Chelsea, not only Chelsea, every team that I managed that I live the game with great passion.

"Sometimes I want to share my enthusiasm, my passion with my players, with my staff, also with my fans. I think it's normal.

"We are not in the same way."

Chelsea captain John Terry's only starts since September have come in the cup competitions.

The 36-year-old defender played in the previous rounds - against Peterborough, Brentford and Wolves - and Monday's match could be his final FA Cup contest at Stamford Bridge.

Terry's contract expires this summer and he could leave Chelsea after more than 18 years in the first team.

Conte has no injuries in his squad, but would not say whether Terry would feature.

"I have to decide the starting XI and for sure I'll try to make the best decision for the team," Conte added.

"We want to go in the next round, in the same way like Manchester United. I try to make the best decision for the team."

Conte repeated that players' futures - and suggestions of a contract extension for himself - would be addressed at the end of the season.

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