Forgive and forget? Antonio Conte sends warning to Jose Mourinho as war of words intensifies
Chelsea manager looks for ceasefire in verbal feud but says he has no regrets about ‘senile dementia’ jibe aimed at Manchester United boss
Antonio Conte says he will “not forget” Jose Mourinho’s personal slight about match-fixing, but the Chelsea manager added he wants to call a halt to the increasingly bitter dispute with his Manchester United counterpart.
The 48-year-old Italian – who served a four-month ban in Italy in 2012 in relation to a match-fixing scandal but has always denied wrongdoing relating to his time as coach of Siena – said he did not want the League Managers’ Association (LMA) to intervene.
“He said serious words, he has used serious words. And I won’t forget this,” Conte said ahead of his side’s League Cup semi-final first leg with Arsenal.
“I think it’s not important, the association, you understand. It’s not important. This is not a problem for the club, it’s a problem between me and him. Now I stop. Stop.”
Conte – who was acquitted of sporting fraud charges in 2016 over accusations he failed to report episodes of match-fixing while in charge at Serie B side Siena in 2011 – said he had no regrets about his response to Mourinho’s attack.
The former Juventus and Italy coach labelled Mourinho ‘a little man’ over his remarks on match-fixing, and suggested the Portuguese was suffering from senile dementia for forgetting how he used to celebrate wildly on the touchline.
Mourinho had provoked the latter riposte by saying he no longer “acts like a clown” on the touchline which was seen as a barb at both Conte and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
“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.”