Conte reignites Mourinho feud and warns Manchester United boss to concentrate on his own team
Chelsea's Antonio Conte reignited his long-running feud with Jose Mourinho by warning him to "think about his own team", in light of comments made by the Manchester United manager after his side's 1-0 Champions League away win against Benfica.
Mourinho was seemingly in a bullish mood after United's win in his native Portugal, commenting: "I never speak about injuries. Other managers, they cry, they cry, they cry when a player is injured."
His remark could be interpreted as a subtle dig at Conte, who spent a large part of his post-match press conference following Chelsea's 3-3 draw with Roma bemoaning the many injuries that have hit his side in recent weeks.
And, when informed of Mourinho's comments, Conte was less than impressed, warning his counterpart to concentrate on his own affairs before lashing out at others.
"If he is speaking about me, I think he has to think about his own team and start looking at himself, not others," a stern-faced Conte said.
"I think that a lot of the time Mourinho spends seeing what has happened at Chelsea. A lot of the time and a lot of last season, also. He should think about his team."
Conte’s swipe at Mourinho came at the end of a disappointing day for the Italian, who was understandably frustrated with his side for throwing away a two-goal lead.
A second goal for the excellent Eden Hazard did rescue a late point for the Premier League champions, but injuries to David Luiz and Tiemoue Bakayoko did little to improve Conte’s mood.
The injury concerns leave Chelsea’s squad looking notably thin for the coming weeks, particularly in midfield. N’Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater are also missing, along with first-choice wing-back Victor Moses. Conte described the numerous absentees as an “emergency situation” for his side.
“After the first half the doctor told me that David Luiz had a pain in his calf and the same for Bakayoko in his groin,” Conte said. “It’s not about injuries, but trying to get the best out of the team. The same players have been going all the time since pre-season. We’ve got three injuries, not seven or eight, but it’s still an emergency situation for us.”
Despite his disappointment with the injuries sustained by Luiz and Bakayoko, as well as Mourinho’s comments, Conte described the outcome of the match as “fair”.
“At the end I think the result was fair but, in the first half, we were 2-0 up. But we weren’t in control of the game,” he said.
“It’s right to take the responsibility for this. But sometimes you have to find the right solution to try to protect your team. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. But you know very well our situation.
“It was good to draw because Roma deserved this result. I have to praise my players because they showed me big effort, commitment, otherwise we’d have lost.”
Hazard’s two goals were more than he had managed in his previous 14 games in all competitions for Chelsea (one).
The winger said: “It is a good result for both teams, but when you are 2-0 up at home you must win the game. Edin Dzeko is a fantastic striker and we stay first in the group.
“Now we have to play in Rome but we will try to win the game. After two defeats it’s not easy to bounce back.”