Focus: Jose Mourinho v Antonio Conte
Old foes faced off in the FA Cup final.
Antonio Conte’s Chelsea won Saturday’s FA Cup final at Wembley as Eden Hazard’s first-half penalty earned a 1-0 win over Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United.
Here, Press Association Sport focuses on the rival bosses – not always the best of friends in the past – during the showpiece.
Conte and Mourinho were on better terms at Wembley (Nick Potts/PA)A fragile truce was called in February after a lengthy feud grew in ferocity in January, becoming more and more personal and vitriolic. Professional courtesy was shown here. And Mourinho hugged Conte and gave him an almost affectionate slap before the Italian celebrated victory.
Phil Jones struggled against Eden Hazard and looked far more comfortable against Olivier Giroud. Many wondered why Eric Bailly was only a substitute and why Paul Pogba was not offering more. United increased the intensity in the second half, but still lacked the presence of Romelu Lukaku, deemed fit enough only for the bench. Lukaku and Anthony Martial were menacing, but it was Pogba who missed the best chance for an equaliser. Conte did not call upon his substitutes until the final minutes and trusted in his starters. They delivered.
Chelsea’s 3-5-2 system allowed them to pack bodies behind the ball and gave Eden Hazard space to exploit. The tactics were reminiscent of Mourinho’s on the big stage. The Portuguese appeared frustrated with his players for making too many mistakes, with and without the ball, Jones’ proving the most costly.
On the touchline
Conte was, as usual, prowling and kicking every ball. He wanted a red for Jones’ foul on Hazard for the penalty, but referee Michael Oliver was correct in applying the triple jeopardy rule amendment. Mourinho spent much of the game with his hands in his pockets. He wrote notes using the advertising hoarding near the dugout as his desk in the first half. Lee Mason, the fourth official, received an ear bashing, with Mourinho the most vocal of the two bosses.
Win or lose, it was expected pre-match that this would be Antonio Conte’s final match of his two-year spell as Chelsea head coach. He was up against his immediate predecessor as permanent boss, Jose Mourinho, once so loved by Blues fans and still Chelsea’s most successful manager. Blues supporters chanted “Antonio, Antonio” after Eden Hazard’s penalty went in and lauded their head coach afterwards.