By James Agberebi:
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has insisted that he does not regret getting involved in a feisty war of words with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.
Conte stated this during Tuesday’s press conference ahead of Chelsea’s Carabao Cup first-leg semi-final against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
Conte and Mourinho have both been at each other’s throat in the past few days, calling each other names.
Mourinho blasted Conte for getting suspended for match-fixing during his time in Italy, while the former Juventus gaffer responded by saying Mourinho is suffering from senile dementia, also describing him as a ” little man”.
Responding to questions concerning his spat with Mourinho, Conte said: “Do I have this look of a person that regrets? I don’t think so. We have both said things and we will see what happens in the future.
“He used serious words, said serious words. I won’t forget this. This is not a problem from the club, it is a problem with me and him.”
Conte said he plans to field a strong team against Arsenal on Wednesday, stating the Carabao is important to Chelsea.
He said: “I think in every game we have to try to make a strong team and if you play in the league, the FA Cup or Carabao Cup, when you play every three days it is important to make the rotation and at the same time your team must be very strong, otherwise you risk to drop this trophy. It is a very important game, this trophy, we deserve to be here.”
On what kind of game he expects from Chelsea and Arsenal, Conte said: “The last one was an exciting game, for those watching. Tomorrow the game will be very open, both teams want to try to win and attack and when you have two teams wanting the same things you can have an exciting game. I hope to have a good result. This is the first game, at home, then there is the one away. We want to reach the final, as do Arsenal.”
And on the possibility of new signing Ross Barkley making his debut against Arsenal and reports about Chelsea wanting to sign Andy Carroll, Conte explained: “Tomorrow night is very soon, is very soon for him (Barkley). We must be pleased because his physical condition is good and he’s starting to have the training sessions with us and understand our idea of football. We must be pleased, but he needs a bit of time. His condition is good, very good. I don’t know (when he might play). But I am very positive, he is a good guy and is showing a great will to work and desire to help us very soon. This is very positive and I am very happy to have Ross with us for the rest of the season.
“As I said before the club knows very well which are the positions we can improve (on Carroll rumour). I am very happy to work with my players and the commitment of my players. If there is a possibility to improve the squad the club knows very well.”