LONDON, United Kingdom, Jan 6 – Jose Mourinho’s war of words with Antonio Conte has escalated further after the Manchester United boss brought up the Chelsea manager’s connection to a match-fixing scandal.
The dispute began on Thursday when Mourinho said he did not need to behave like “a clown” on the touchline – an apparent reference to Conte’s antics during games.
Conte responded on Friday afternoon by questioning whether Mourinho was suffering from senile dementia.
But the spat went one step further after Man United’s FA Cup win over Derby, when Mourinho brought up an incident of attempted match-fixing during Conte’s spell in charge of Italian side Siena in 2011.
Conte served a four-match ban in 2012, before he was acquitted of any wrongdoing in 2016, prior to taking charge at Chelsea.
“The only thing I want to say to end the story is yes, I made mistakes in the past on the touchline. Yes, I will make less but I think I will still make a few,” said Mourinho.
“What never happened to me and will never happen to me is to be suspended for match-fixing, that never happened to me and will never happen.”
When asked about Conte’s remarks, Mourinho had initially absolved the Italian of any blame and pointed the finger at the media for escalating the fall-out.
He said: “I don’t blame him. Honestly. I don’t blame him, I think the press should apologise to me and him.
“Because the question that comes to him is completely wrong and because of that he had that out-of-control reaction. But I don’t blame him at all.
“I was asked about my passion and you know I was speaking about myself and then the question to the Chelsea manager was that I said he behaved like a clown. Probably the journalist wanted to say that but didn’t have the courage so he said, ‘Mourinho said you behaved like a clown’.
“I don’t blame the Chelsea manager at all and I understand his reaction. I was speaking about myself saying I don’t need to behave like a clown to show passion.”