Saturday 24 March 2018

'It's not always about who spends more money' - Antonio Conte's devious dig at Manchester's big-spending duo

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has warned rivals spending money is no guarantee of success
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has warned rivals spending money is no guarantee of success
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has delivered a less that subtle verbal jab in the direction of the big spending Manchester clubs, after pointing out that their huge investment in the transfer market is not reaping rewards this season.

While Chelsea continue their quest to win a Premier League and FA Cup double, Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City find themselves battling it out for fourth spot in the Premier League.

Even though United spent big money to sign the likes of Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan last summer and City splashed more than £160m on new players following Guardiola’s arrival, the two clubs and their celebrated managers have come up short in their push for the top honours.

While some may suggest it is somewhat ironic that a Chelsea manager is poking fun at his rivals for overspending given his club’s recent history of buying their way to the game’s top table, Conte offered these words ahead of his side’s Premier League game against Southampton on Tuesday night.

“This season it’s very important to understand that it’s not always about who spends more money who wins,” Conte told reporters.

“This season isn’t the only season both Manchester clubs have spent a lot of money. Look at the past.

“It’s right for them to do this, to reinforce their teams, if they think this is the right way to win the title. Every single club decides their own strategy.”

Conte went on to suggest it is vital that you spend money on players with the right character, as he claimed a long-term strategy is far more productive than an attempt to buy instant success.

“If you have to spend money, try to spend that money in the right way to take players with the right characteristics for your idea of football,” he added.

“For us, this season is very important because we are trying to build something for the present, to put down the foundations, and be stronger for the future. To become a real power in the future.”

Conte’s comments will provide an interesting talking point ahead of a crucial mid-week of Premier League fixtures, with the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday night likely to be crucial in deciding whether City or United (or possibly both) are playing Champions League football next season.

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