Thursday 22 March 2018

Conte takes swipe at Mourinho, who has dig at Wenger

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho Picture: Reuters
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho Picture: Reuters

Matt Law and James Ducker

Antonio Conte has taken a swipe at former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho by questioning how he overlooked Victor Moses for three seasons during his second spell in charge.

Moses is quickly becoming the surprise success story of the season after being converted into a wing-back by Conte as part of his switch to a 3-4-3 formation.

Since Moses came into the side, Chelsea have won six successive Premier League games without conceding a single goal and have raced to the top of the table.

Moses was signed by Chelsea for £9m from Wigan Athletic in 2012 and made 43 appearances in his first season at the club under Roberto Di Matteo and interim manager Rafa Benitez.

But the Nigeria international was sidelined once Mourinho took over and did not make another competitive appearance during the three seasons the Portuguese was there.

Mourinho loaned Moses out to Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham before Conte took over this summer and took a shine to the 25-year-old on Chelsea's pre-season tour to America.

"I could see his potential from the first days of the summer training camp," said Conte. "Moses has important qualities: technique, physical strength, the ability to cover 70 metres of the pitch.

"I find it incredible that someone like him has been underestimated."

Mourinho, meanwhile, has taken another dig at Arsene Wenger and said he is convinced Manchester United's owners will give him the time he needs to rebuild at Old Trafford.

The United manager said Wenger had "failed to build a team to be champion" for more than a decade but claimed that his Arsenal counterpart escaped the level of scrutiny he does, despite last winning the Premier League title 18 months ago with Chelsea.

Yet Mourinho believes United executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, and the Glazer family, will provide him with the "stability" required to restore success at United, even though they have sacked two managers in the past three seasons.

"The Arsenal manager hasn't won a championship in 14 years (sic - Wenger's last league title was in 2004)," Mourinho told ESPN Brazil.

"I haven't won a championship in 18 months. He, in 14 years (sic - 12), failed to build a team to be champion. I've been here for four months. And the demand is only for me and not for others."

Asked why he believes there is more pressure on him to win than other managers, Mourinho echoed his claims before United's game against Arsenal on Saturday that he has become a victim of his own success.

"It must be because of the career I've made, because I got to the clubs and always won right away," Mourinho said of the scrutiny he finds himself under. "And this (Manchester United) is a more difficult reality, because it is an extremely difficult competition, with teams being prepared for a lot longer, with excellent players, with excellent coaches.

"Manchester really live in a period that needs stability. A stability that the club wants to give me, a stability that the club gives me, a stability that the fans give me, but that the press does not accept very well."

Feyenoord visit Old Trafford tomorrow with United facing a battle to qualify for the Europa League knockout stages after two defeats in their opening four group games. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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