EPL 2016/17: Antonio Conte hits back at Jose Mourinho over his attempt to gee up the crowd
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte responded to Jose Mourinho after the Manchester United manager asked him to calm down in his efforts to wind up the crowd at the end of Sunday’s meeting between the two sides at Stamford Bridge.
More importantly, Conte defended his actions by saying, “I was a football player, so I know how to behave on the pitch. There were United fans who kept singing, while ours were in silence after a great performance from my team. I wanted to call the crowd to applaud the players, which seems normal enough to me.”
“I have great respect for everyone. Nothing happened with Jose, especially as my behavior seemed normal. I didn’t make fun of or humiliate anyone, as I always demand respect. Today, I think it is important to talk about the game and I say my players deserved this type of performance.”
Towards the end of the game, Conte was seen gesturing to the Stamford Bridge faithful to get behind his team and appreciate, what had easily been his team’s best performance, so far, this season.
However, the Italian’s antics did not seem to go down too well with his Portuguese counterpart, as Mourinho was seen whispering something into Conte’s ear after shaking hands with him at the full-time whistle.
Mourinho reportedly told Conte not celebrate the way the Italian did, at 4-0, and supposedly said, “It’s just my opinion, but don’t do that at 4-0. You can at 1-0, but at 4-0 its humiliation.”
A not so nice return for Mou
Sunday’s encounter marked Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge for the first time since he was sacked by Chelsea last season, and not surprisingly, the return of the ‘Special One’ dominated the headlines in the build-up to the game.
However, goals from Pedro, Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard and N’golo Kante meant that it was an unhappy homecoming for Mourinho, with Chelsea eventually running out 4-0 winners.
Mourinho’s past antics
Mourinho’s comments do come as a surprise, especially for a manager who has previously done everything from running the length of the touchline at Old Trafford to celebrate his team, FC Porto’s victory over Manchester United in the 2004 Champions League, to poking former Barcelona assistant manager Tito Vilanova in the eye, in a bid to express his emotions.
Going by Mourinho’s own antics in the past, it’s safe to say that Conte was only giving Mourinho a taste of his own medicine, both on and off the pitch.