Belfast Telegraph

Antonio Conte 'won't forget' Jose Mourinho comments

Antonio Conte has insisted his feud with Jose Mourinho is personal and that no one should intervene.

The Chelsea boss has vowed "I won't forget" Mourinho's criticism, after the Manchester United manager hit out at Conte over match-fixing.

Conte branded Mourinho a "little man" after Chelsea's goalless FA Cup third-round draw at Norwich on Saturday, and has now stood by those comments.

The former Juventus boss insisted he has no regrets over responding to Mourinho, but moved to shut down any further discussion of their falling out.

"Do I have the look of a person with regret? I don't think so," said Conte.

"I think we both said things, and we'll see what happens in future."

Mourinho escalated the war of words with Conte by claiming he would never be "suspended for match-fixing" in a clear reference to the ex-Italy boss' four-month ban.

Conte was hit with a four-month suspension at Juventus in the 2012-13 season for failing to report match-fixing at previous club Siena. He was later acquitted of any wrongdoing.

Asked if the League Managers' Association (LMA) should now intervene to try and repair the damage between Conte and Mourinho, the Chelsea boss said: "I think it's not important, the association, you understand. It's not important.

"He said serious words, he has used serious words. And I won't forget this.

"This is not a problem for the club, it's a problem between me and him. Now I stop. Stop."

Conte insisted he has no hatred for any rival manager despite his spat with Mourinho, and also claimed he has no issue with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger ahead of their clash in Wednesday's Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Stamford Bridge.

Conte claimed Arsenal were "lucky" with refereeing decisions when the two sides drew 2-2 in the Premier League earlier in January, after Wenger had criticised official Anthony Taylor for awarding Chelsea a penalty when Eden Hazard went down in the penalty area.

"For sure I made a comment to Arsene because he mentioned my player, otherwise I have respect for what every coach thinks," said Conte.

"In this case I made a comment became he mentioned Hazard. But every coach has their own opinion and we must respect it if you don't offend anyone."

Jokingly asked to comment on joining Wenger in a hatred of Mourinho, Conte added: "This is not true. I don't hate anyone."

Conte, who insisted Chelsea will attempt to continue strengthening their squad in January, admitted the Blues worked hard to lure Virgil van Dijk to Stamford Bridge, before the Holland defender eventually signed for Liverpool in a record £75million deal.

Asked if he was disappointed not to recruit Van Dijk, Conte said: "This is football. This is life. For sure he was our target but as you know this is football.

"We can have a lot of targets but you must be able to reach those targets. The transfer market is not simple for any club."


From Belfast Telegraph