Tuesday 16 October 2018

Antonio Conte hits back at 'little man' Jose Mourinho as war of words escalates

Chelsea's Italian head coach Antonio Conte
Chelsea's Italian head coach Antonio Conte

Matt McGeehan

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte has responded to Jose Mourinho's jibe about match-fixing by labelling the Manchester United manager a "little man".

The pair's war of words escalated on Friday when Conte suggested Mourinho had "demenza senile", which translates to senile dementia, before the Portuguese hit back by saying he will never be suspended for match-fixing.

Conte served a four-month ban following accusations he failed to report his knowledge of an incident of attempted match-fixing in 2011 but was later acquitted of any wrongdoing.

Conte, though, was in no mood to let the feud simmer as he told BT Sport: "When a person (does this), their target is to offend, to insult another person.

"When you insult or offend another person it means that you are a little man. I think he's a little man.

"It is not a surprise for me. It is his way.

"I think when you tell something you are to take the responsibility. He must have a big personality."

Conte's Chelsea have beaten Mourinho's United in three of their four meetings, with the Blues triumphing 1-0 in their most recent clash at Stamford Bridge in November.

And the Italian, speaking after Chelsea's goalless draw at Norwich in the FA Cup third round, is relishing his side's trip to Old Trafford next month.

He added: "Life will go on. I'm not worried about him. For sure there is a good opportunity when we play against Manchester United."

Conte made wholesale changes at Carrow Road, with only Gary Cahill and Tiemoue Bakayoko surviving from the side that drew at Arsenal in midweek.

"It was a pity to draw but at the same time the players showed great commitment," Conte added.

Conte was still able to call on the likes of David Luiz, Danny Drinkwater, Willian and Pedro, so Norwich attacking midfielder James Maddison feels the Canaries should be proud of their efforts in stifling their visitors.

He told BT Sport: "They can make a load of changes and still bring in quality like that. It's never going to be easy, they're the Premier League champions for a reason and we dug in really well.

"I think we've got to give ourselves a pat on the back, to be honest, we showed great resilience.

"We knew it was going to be tough and when the team sheet comes in and you see the likes of Willian, Pedro and world-class players like that you know it's going to be a tough afternoon, but we dug in and got the replay."

Looking ahead to the prospect of the replay at Stamford Bridge, Maddison added: "What an atmosphere that will be! They're the games we want to be playing in against the top teams and in the top stadiums. We'll look forward to that one."

Online Editors

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