Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has dug up Antonio Conte’s sordid past as a feud with the Chelsea manager gets uglier.
Conte suggested Mourinho suffers from ‘demenza senile’ after Mourinho told reporters he did not have to show passion by jumping around like a clown on the sidelines.
Mourinho was asked if he had the hunger and desire to continue to compete and replied: “Because I don’t behave as a clown on the touchline it means that I lost my passion?” Conte, who is an animated figure on the touchline, was asked about the quote at his pre-match press conference and suggested Mourinho – who has wildly celebrated goals in the past – has ‘demenza senile’.
The phrase translates as ‘senile dementia’ but Chelsea suggested Conte meant ‘amnesia’. United manager Mourinho returned fire after watching his side beat Derby in their FA Cup third round tie at Old Trafford on Friday night.
First, he tried to explain, then brought up Conte’s part in the match-fixing scandal a few years ago.
“Look I don’t blame him,” Mourinho said after Conte’s comments were mentioned. “Honestly I don’t blame him, I think the press should apologise to me and to 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 because most of you were in my press conference and I was speaking about myself and then the question to the Chelsea manager was like I told that he behaves like a clown, probably the journalist wants to say that but didn’t have the courage to say that.
“So Mourinho told you behave like a clown, so 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 as a clown to show passion, that I control my emotions in a better way, everybody knows I don’t need the Chelsea manager to say that I made mistakes in the past, and I will make in the future.
“What I will say is, I will never be banned for match fixing.”
Conte was accused of failing to report an incident of attempted match-fixing while in charge of Siena in 2011, serving a four-month ban and enduring a nightmare during an exhaustive investigation.
But Conte’s ordeal came to an end in 2016 after he was cleared of any wrong-doing by an Italian court.
“I know that I celebrated goals running 50 metres, that I celebrated goals sliding on my knees, I got celebrations jumping to the crowd, I’m not free of that especially if we score a winning goal in a specific moment, I’m not free to have an out of control reaction but what I was trying to say was I behaved bad a few times and in this moment I control myself much better, doesn’t mean that my passion is not the same.
“So wrong question and obviously a strong answer but I don’t blame, 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.”