Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has taken Jose Mourinho’s bait by hitting back at the 54-year-old following his claims that the Italian cried too often about injuries.
Man United top the Premier League table in terms of injuries, with Paul Pogba, Phil Jones, Eric Bailly, Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick, Marcos Rojo and Marcus Rashford all on the treatment table ahead of Saturday’s visit to Huddersfield.
Mourinho, speaking soon after the 1-0 win over Benfica in Lisbon, aimed a dig at Conte, who had bemoaned the absence of several key players following their 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace, by noting how some managers “cry and cry and cry” over injuries.
And Conte, in response, told Mourinho to focus on his own players as opposed to aiming shots at other managers.
“A lot of time Mourinho has to see what happens at Chelsea,” he said.
“A lot of time, also last season. I think he has to think about his team and stop… to look at himself, not the others.”
Mourinho has been around the Premier League merry-go-round of mind games for some years now. This is his circuit, his passion: to complain about something, refuse to acknowledge it as an issue, belittle other managers for complaining about same thing, and then wait to see if they come out with a response.
This may just be how the 54-year-old is as an individual, but that doesn’t matter. The important thing is that, time and time again, this intentional cage rattling paints everything in a darker shade of Mourinho, moves the attention away from the important stuff and instead to him and his cabaret of villainous chaos, and sticks in the minds of other bosses as a result. His persona and rhetoric is deliberately ubiquitous.
And at the moment, Mourinho is clearly having too much fun ruffling the feathers of a comparative newcomer to the Premier League.