London, Sunday @PeopleSports11
Antonio Conte extended his extraordinary war of words with Jose Mourinho on Saturday night by dismissing the Manchester United manager as a “little man in the past, a little man in the present and a little man in the future.”
Conte enraged Mourinho on Friday by suggesting he was suffering from senile dementia in response to comments interpreted as a dig against his touchline behaviour.
Mourinho hit back brutally that night by referencing Conte’s four-month ban in 2012-13 for failing to report match fixing—Conte was cleared of all wrongdoing in 2016—but any notions that the row might fizzle out were rapidly dispelled after Chelsea’s 0-0 FA Cup draw at Norwich.
In a remarkable rant that included calling Mourinho “a fake” for his treatment of Claudio Ranieri, Conte said: “The truth is that I was banned for four months for failure to report. Then I asked for a real-trial by court and they declared my innocence.”
“I think before you make this type of comment, to hurt another person, you must pay great attention. You show you are a little man. A little man. You (Mourinho) don’t know very well what is the situation,” he added.
He went on: “But I know him very well in the past. In the past he was a little man in many circumstances, he is a little man in the present and for sure he will be a little man in the future. Mourinho is this. You know him very well. The level is very low. I repeat: I think before you speak you have to know very well what happened. But this is not my problem. I consider him a little man, I consider him a man with a very low profile.”
The astonishing outburst continued with a citation of Mourinho’s behaviour towards his close friend Claudio Ranieri. Mourinho had previously mocked Ranieri and yet wore his ‘CR’ initials on his training top in solidarity when he was sacked by Leicester.
Conte said: “I remember a stupid example with Ranieri, when he offended Ranieri for his English. Then when Ranieri was sacked he put on a shirt for Ranieri. You are a fake. If you want to fight a person, you try to kill this person. And then after two years you try to help this person, because maybe it’s good for you, for your profile.”
There might now be an intervention from the FA, with Chelsea and United next due to meet on February 25. Conte added: “I don’t have anything to clarify now. It will be the opportunity in the game against United when we go to Old Trafford. Me and him face to face. I’m ready. I don’t know if he’s ready.”
Mourinho had initially triggered this seismic row by referring on Thursday to ‘clown’ behaviour on the touchline, comments widely believed to have been aimed at Conte and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp. -DAILYMAIL