Friday 21 September 2018

Conte accuses 'forgetful' Mourinho of losing his mind

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte
Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte

Matt Law

Antonio Conte has accused Jose Mourinho of losing his mind in an astonishing attack on both the Manchester United manager and Arsenal's Arsene Wenger, during which he described the pair as old.

Chelsea's head coach warned Mourinho, 54, and Wenger, 68, that he was ready to "fight for me, my players, the club, with everyone" if they continued to aim digs at him and his team.

Mourinho, the ex-Chelsea manager, said on Thursday he had not lost his passion, despite not "behaving as a clown on the touchline", perceived as a swipe at Conte and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. In response, the Italian, 48, tapped his temple and said the Portuguese was suffering from "demenza senile", literally translated as senile dementia. Chelsea later insisted Conte meant amnesia.

"I think he [Mourinho] has to see himself in the past, maybe he was speaking about himself in the past, yeah?" said Conte.

"Maybe sometimes, someone forgets what they said or his behaviour and sometimes I think there is, I don't know the name, demenza senile, when you are a bit [taps his temple]."

Asked to clarify what Conte meant, Chelsea coach Carlo Cudicini, who helps Conte with translation, said: "It is like amnesia, when you can't remember things."

Conte added: "When you forgot what you say or do in the past, your behaviours. You must be worried when this happens because it means you are becoming old and you need a check."

Wenger upset Conte by claiming Eden Hazard should have been booked for diving, rather than awarded a penalty, during Chelsea's draw with Arsenal in midweek.

The clubs meet again next Wednesday in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final when Wenger will be serving the second of his three-game touchline ban for comments made to match officials after the Premier League draw with West Bromwich Albion.

Conte, who takes his team to Norwich City in the third round of the FA Cup today, said: "I think if Arsene Wenger watched the game again, he would understand that he was very lucky during the game for refereeing decisions.

"Sometimes, for example, Wenger forgets that in the last few games, we finish with 10 men when they won the FA Cup and Community Shield. I think the referee decisions were a bit strange.

"When we were 2-1 up [on Wednesday] and the Arsenal defender is sliding before to take the ball and for us it was a chance to score, but the referee stopped the game and Wilshere [who escaped a second yellow card for a perceived dive]... I can talk about referee decisions for one month, but I don't want to do this because we must have respect for the decisions.

"Also, Wenger tries to find this way [blaming referees] like other coaches and it is not good. You have to accept the decision. He is an old coach, he has experience, he won a lot and he has to continue to do what he did in the past. For the other situation [Mourinho], I am repeating. There is a person who continues to look here. He went away, but continues to look here." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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