Antonio Conte has accused Jose Mourinho of losing his mind during an extraordinary response to the former Chelsea manager’s dig over “clowns on the touchline.”
Mourinho’s comments were widely thought to be aimed at both Chelsea head coach Conte and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
Denying the suggestion he could resign at the end of the season, United manager Mourinho said: “Because I don’t behave as a clown on the touchline, it means that I’ve lost my passion?”
Faced with that quote, Conte hit back by saying: “I think that he has to see himself in the past, maybe he was speaking about himself in the past, yeah?
“Maybe sometimes, I think that someone forget what they said in the past 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) when you forget what you do in the past.”
‘Demenza senile’ literally translates as senile dementia, but Chelsea later insisted Conte had been looking to use the Italian word for amnesia.
Mourinho was the not the only manager Conte took aim at, as he also attacked Arsene Wenger for claiming that Eden Hazard should have been booked for diving rather than awarded a penalty during Chelsea’s draw with Arsenal in midweek.
Conte said: “I think if Arsene Wenger watched the game again, he would understand that he was very lucky during the game for refereeing decisions.”
Asked whether he is becoming annoyed by rival managers talking about him and his players, Conte added: “I think that it is very strange because I don’t like to speak about the other coach, the other players.
“I think that is a form of respect you must have and I repeat that sometimes for example, Wenger forgets that in the last few games we finish the game with 10 men when they won FA Cup and Community Shield, and I think the referee decisions were a bit strange, you understand?
“And when we were 2-1 up (on Wednesday night) and the Arsenal defender is sliding before to take the ball and for us it was a chance to score, but instead the referee stopped the game and Wilshere... I can talk, if I want 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 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 he has to continue to do what he did in the past. For the other situation I am repeating. There is a person who continues to look here. He went away, but continues to look here.”
Chelsea expect to complete the £15million signing of Ross Barkley on Friday afternoon and Conte said: “For sure, we are talking about a young English player, he has a good prospect for Chelsea.
“The club decided for this investment also for his contract. This is a good opportunity for the club to buy this player.
“He is very young. He has a lot of space for improvement. Very strong physically, good technique and he is a good prospect but at the same time it will be very important to understand always to repeat if the player signs for the club to understand when he can recover from his injury.
“Don't forget he had a bad injury, he had surgery and he has not played for seven months. In case this player signs for the club because the club will inform you if there is some news, we must have great patience and we have to hope to recover him very quickly ad to try to help us for the rest of the season.”
On reports linking Chelsea with Andy Carroll, Conte added: “Yeah but about the transfer market, as I said before, I don't know, and I gave my opinion to the club but the club then decide the players we can buy or we can sell.”