LONDON, United Kingdom, Jan 7- Chelsea manager Antonio Conte fired back at José Mourinho on Saturday in the lastest salvo in their ongoing war of words, labelling the Manchester United boss a “little man” and a “fake.”
Upset at Mourinho’s dig at his four-month ban in 2012 for failing to report match-fixing while coaching in Italy, Conte went on an astonishing attack during his press conference following Chelsea’s 0-0 FA Cup draw at Norwich.
A lengthy outburst saw him attack Mourinho’s personality and criticised him for a ‘fake’ show of support following Leicester City’s sacking of former manager Claudio Ranieri.
“I think before you make this type of comment, before to hurt another person, you must pay great attention,” Conte said of Mourinho’s outburst over his match-fixing episode.
“You show you are a little man. A little man. You don’t know very well [what] is the situation. But I know him very well in the past. In the past he was a little man in many circumstances, is a little man in the present and for sure he will be a little man in the future.
“Also if he wants to try to change his behaviours … but the person’s this, Mourinho’s this. You know him very well. The level is very low. I repeat: I think before to speak you have to know very well what happened.”
Mourinho made reference to Conte’s ban after the Italian had earlier on Friday suggested that the Portuguese was suffering from amnesia, after Mourinho commented that he did not have to “behave as a clown on the touchline” to show passion, an apparent dig at Conte.
“This is not my problem, I consider him a little man,” Conte reasserted. “I consider him a man with a very low profile.
“There is a story to speak for him and for me. You can change the story, but you have to know the story very well before hurting another person.”
“In the last period he’s suffering a bit of amnesia. We are there, amnesia. When you become to be older, there is this type of risk. Also for me, and for you – for all. The problem is if you show this. He must pay great attention. He’s doing this with regularity.”
He then accused Mourinho of being a fraud in relation to his treatment of Ranieri.
“I remember a stupid example with Ranieri,” he said. “When he offended Ranieri for his English. Then when Ranieri was sacked he put on a shirt for Ranieri. You are a fake.”
Mourinho once famously criticised Ranieri, suggesting in 2008 that his Chelsea predecessor had “struggled to say ‘good morning’ and ‘good afternoon’” after five years in England, but when he was fired by Leicester last February, Mourinho arrived at a press conference with the letters “CR” on his sweater.
“I think you have good consideration for a person or not. It doesn’t change your opinion to be more sympathetic. 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.”
Conte finished by saying he was looking forward to February 25, when Chelsea play United at Old Trafford.
“It will be the opportunity in the game against United when we go to Old Trafford,” Conte said. “Me and him face to face. I’m ready. I don’t know if he’s ready.”