Sunday 23 September 2018

Jose Mourinho opens up on his truce with Antonio Conte after a 'special' win for Manchester United

Antonio Conte, right, was disappointed by Chelsea's failure to hold onto their lead against Manchester United
Antonio Conte, right, was disappointed by Chelsea's failure to hold onto their lead against Manchester United

Jose Mourinho declared his side's 2-1 victory against Chelsea at Old Trafford was 'special', but not just because he recorded a victory against his former club.

A late Jesse Lingard goal fired United to a victory that propelled them back into second place in the Premier League, six points ahead of fifth placed Chelsea.

Much of the talk in the build-up to the game at Old Trafford focused on the acrimonious rivalry between Mourinho and Conte, with the United manager keen to suggest a war of words that spilled over last month month is now forgotten.

A cordial post match handshake ended one of the most talked about feuds in the game and the United boss was keen to dilute any animosity between the duo after the game.

"I think that is what me and Antonio want to show to everyone," said Mourinho. "The handshake before and after the match I think is an example that everything in football you have to move and respect each other.

The United manager then slipped into the third person, adding: "Mourinho and Conte, they are not two ordinary persons in football. We have a history, we have an image and I’m really happy with that."

Mourinho offered up a balanced view of a game that could be hugely significant in his side's push for a top four finish in the Premier League, as he was keen to suggest Chelsea remain a potent force despite their indifferent form in recent months.

"I think we beat a fantastic team," he stated. "For some reason, they were the champions last season. For some reason, they played the way they did against Barcelona.

"For some reason, they started the game so well as they started here. We beat a very good team and to beat a very good team, you need to be organised but you also need to have a humble spirit where everybody works, everybody fights, everybody tries to follow a game plan. I repeat, we beat a very good team.

"They have a fantastic dynamic of the way they project the wing-backs. I was trying to find a way for my players to be dangerous in the interior football because through the sides Chelsea are very, very strong, so we found a way to play against them where we didn't concede much.

"I think we had a good control of Eden (Hazard), Willian, of course, is an amazing player and with his goal he killed us, but we took progression of the game, we had more and more control of the game without creating lots of chances because we didn't but they also didn't. That's the way I was expecting the game to be when I spoke with you before the game - a tight game.

"I think everyone made a big effort. Could the result have been a draw? Yes it could. But I think in the second half we were more confident, we felt more confident with the defensive base and I think if somebody deserved a victory it was us. But, if you were to say a draw, I would accept that. The important thing for us is that we beat a fantastic team."

Meanwhile, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte admitted his side were in danger of missing out on a top four finish in the Premier League after Tottenham moved ahead of them with a win at Crystal Palace on Sunday.

"We are disappointed with the final result," said Conte. "We had a great chance to get three points against a competitor for a place in the Champions League, but in the end we are talking about another defeat.

"When you have this type of situation, you have to manage the game better, and you must be able, with experience and maturity, to get three points. Instead we are talking about a loss. We are very disappointed about this.

"In this league getting a place in the Champions League is not simple. This country has the only championship where you can find six teams who start the season by fighting to win the title or getting a place in the Champions League. It’s very hard for every team.

"There is this risk we will not get top four now. We must be ready to be concentrated, and to understand this target is an important target for us, but it won’t be easy."

Online Editors

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