Antonio Conte has insisted he “won’t forget” Jose Mourinho’s comment about his match-fixing conviction in the latest instalment of a war of words between the two managers.
The Italian accused Mourinho of suffering from ‘senile dementia’ in response to his claim that he didn’t need to act like a “clown” on the touchline, wrongly assuming that those comments were in reference to his conduct during games.
Mourinho responded emphatically, insisting he would never, unlike some, receive punishment for ‘match-fixing’, prompting Conte to label him as a “little man”.
And the Chelsea boss, speaking ahead of the Carabao Cup clash with Arsenal, couldn’t resist throwing his weight around again.
“Do I have the look of a person who regrets? I don’t think so,” he asserted. “We both said these things and we’ll see what happens in the future.”
“This is not a problem for the clubs. It’s a problem between me and him. I stop.
“I think it’s not important, (to involve) the association, you understand,” said Conte. “It’s not important. He said serious words, using serious words and I won’t forget this.”
Remember that kid in class who you knew would absolutely implode if you pushed his buttons in a certain way? Spitballs, scrunched up pieces of paper thrown at the back of his head, snide comments about that time he pissed himself on the bus, etc, etc. Table flipped over, bursting out of the classroom with tears coming down his face.
That is Conte.
All Mourinho needed to do was claim he wasn’t a clown on the touchline like he used to be and, well, the media and Conte’s manifest insecurity did the rest.
To see both managers fling such personal insults at each other is superb viewing, and Mourinho, once again, has dragged Conte down to his level of spite and camaraderie, claiming a strange kind of victory in the process.
One thing is for sure: United vs Chelsea on February 25 promises to be some encounter.