13 Jan 2018

Mourinho views Conte feud with 'contempt'

1:26 pm on 13 January 2018

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho claims he regards his bitter feud with Chelsea counterpart Antonio Conte with "contempt".

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, left, shakes hands with Chelsea counterpart Antonio Conte.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, left, shakes hands with Chelsea counterpart Antonio Conte. Photo: Photosport

The two Premier League bosses have traded barbs since the new year after Mourinho's comment he did not feel the need to behave like "a clown" during games touched a nerve with Conte.

That sparked an extraordinary war of words between the pair, where Conte accused Mourinho of having "demenza senile", which directly translates as senile dementia.

It prompted the United boss to hit back by appearing to allude to a four-month suspension Conte served in relation to match-fixing.

Conte, who was later cleared of any wrongdoing on that front, responded by accusing Mourinho of being "fake" and "a little man".

On Saturday (NZ time), Mourinho conducted his first press conference since one of his Chelsea successor's latest remarks.

"I think when a person insults another, you can expect a response or you can expect contempt, silence," Mourinho said.

"The first time he insulted me I had a response, a response that I know that touched the point where he really feels hurt.

"Then he insulted me for a second time, but now I change, and now (there is) contempt and for me, contempt means end of the story."

Meanwhile, Conte says he has no intention of quitting Chelsea and says it is up to the club whether he stays on as head coach.

The Italian won the Premier League title last season, his first as boss of the Blues.

Conte last summer signed an improved contract, but not an extension to his deal which expires in June 2019, and there has been continual speculation over his position.

The former Juventus and Italy boss says that goes with the territory of working at Chelsea and does not happen at other clubs.

"Everything is possible," he said.

"In one moment you stay here, in another moment another person replaces you in your job."

Asked if he would extend his contract with Chelsea, he added: "In this case, I think the club has to decide to send me away."

Conte, who has been linked with jobs in Italy and with Paris St Germain in France, was then asked if he would resign. He said: "No."

Conte insisted he is happy at Chelsea, will continue to work as a professional and "never give up".

He added: "For the manager of this club it's normal to have this type of situation, also if you won last season the league and you reached the final in FA Cup."

Conte's position has been subject of speculation regarding a rumoured frustration over recruitment.

He has continually described transfer business - plus player contracts, with Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois' deals on the agenda - as a club matter in recent weeks.

- PA