José Mourinho came out firing in his post-match press conference after United’s recent 2-0 win in the FA Cup against Derby, stating that he will “never be suspended for match-fixing.”
The verbal mud-slinging started after Mourinho aimed a thinly- veiled jab at Conte, accusing the Chelsea manager of “acting like a clown” on the touchline.
With the proverbial first stone cast, the Chelsea boss pulled no punches in his reply to Mourinho, stating “I think he has to see himself in the past – maybe he was speaking about himself in the past.
“Maybe, sometimes, I think that someone forgets what’s said in the past, which is his behaviour… Sometimes I think there is, I don’t know the [English] name, but demenza senile… when you forget what you do in the past.”
Such strong words were bound to illicit a response from José Mourinho, and his reply was a journalist’s dream – the amount of papers this would sell! The Manchester United manager had denied his ‘clown’ comments were aimed at Conte, but nevertheless was not one to back down, as he responded to Antonio Conte’s verbal counter-attack with a barb of his own, stating “the only thing I want to say to end the story is that yes, I made mistakes in the past on the touchline. Yes, I will make less, but I think I will still make a few. What never happened to me – and will never happen – is to be suspended for match-fixing. That never happened to me and will never happen.”
“The verbal mud- slinging started after Mourinho aimed a thinly-veiled jab at Conte”
Conte received a 10-month ban from coaching back in 2012 when he was manager of Serie A club Juventus in relation to a match- fixing scandal that dated back a couple years to when he was manager of Siena in Italy’s second tier.
Specifically, a Siena player of his who was heavily involved in match- fixing claimed Conte knew about two instances in which Siena were instructed to intentionally lose or draw matches. Due to the player’s testimony, Conte was banned from coaching for a time for failing to report the fix that he allegedly knew about.
In the face of much criticism, Antonio Conte maintained his innocence throughout and after numerous appeals, the investigation agreed, eventually clearing the Italian manager of any wrongdoing.
While Conte has tried to rid himself of such a massive scandal as match-fixing, Mourinho’s comments have once again put the accusations made against Conte back into the public eye and on the back pages of newspapers across the country.
Mourinho and Conte’s mutual dislike of one another has festered for a long time, but has escalated further since the Chelsea boss’ first season in the Premier League, to the point where the two are now openly trading blows with each other.
While some have criticized both managers for the seeming lack of maturity and the public nature of their dispute, there is no doubting that the spat has made Chelsea’s visit to Old Trafford in February look even more interesting.
Such is the extent of the managers’ personal feud, that it may well end up overshadowing what happens on the field and what looks set to be a very entertaining football match.