Antonio Conte seems like a man who holds a grudge.
After he hit out at Jose Mourinho who seemed to suggest some of his rivals were “clowns” on the sidelines when speaking last week, Conte took exception to that and said that Mourinho had “senile dementia” as he always acted like this in the past.
Then came then next public spat as Mourinho hit back on Friday and said he would “never be banned for match fixing” when speaking of Conte’s past charges in Italy, to which Conte responded on Saturday by saying Mourinho was a “fake, little man” and always would be.
Wow. Popcorn ready. Also: Manchester United vs. Chelsea is on Feb. 25. (Watch live, 9:05 a.m. ET online via NBCSports.com).
Speaking to the media ahead of Chelsea’s League Cup first leg against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, Conte refused to let his war of words with Mourinho go.
“Do I have the face that looks like I regret it? I don’t think so,” Conte said. “But we have both said things and we will see what happens in future. Just to add… He is using serious words. I won’t forget this. This isn’t a problem between the clubs. It’s between me and him. I stop.”
The Italian coach also confirmed that the League Managers Associations (LMA) have yet to get involved, with the situation spiraling out of control.
Will this stop?
Journalists Neutrals everywhere are hoping it doesn’t.
With Conte and Mourinho clashing on the sidelines at Stamford Bridge last season (Chelsea were winning 4-0 against Mourinho’s Manchester United on his first trip back to Chelsea after being fired in December 2016, with Conte firing the crowd up even more) this has been bubbling up for quite some time.
Given the fact that Mourinho is the most successful manager in Chelsea’s history and Conte then turned up and won a title in his first season, with largely the same squad Mourinho had heading into a relegation battle in 2015-16, the subplots are numerous.
Mourinho (who didn’t directly name the current boss when making the “clown on the sidelines” comments) has suckered Conte in and the Italian has not only taken the bait, he’s trying to devour Mourinho.
Let’s see what the master of the dark arts has to say when he speaks to the media ahead of United’s clash with Stoke City next Monday.
Right now Mourinho is on a warm weather training trip with United in Dubai but there’s no doubt he’s already crafting his response to get under Conte’s skin once again.