Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho’s claims about Chelsea’s tactics this season has finally prompted a response from Antonio Conte.
Mourinho has made pointed remarks about Chelsea’s counter-attacking style, but Conte has a firm riposte and suggested his focus has been working on breaking down defensive teams. United may be cautious against the Blues.
“I have to tell you one thing, not only here (at Chelsea), but I never, ever, ever train for the counter-attack,” Conte said.
“For me, it’s important to train the other aspects: when we have the ball, when we stay almost always in our opponents’ half, to find the right solution, to prepare when we are attacking.
“I think the counter-attack is an option, above all, if you have this type of player, players who are very, very fast. They know what they can do.”
Mourinho’s criticism came after he adhered to the United style of playing with attacking football, something his predecessor Louis van Gaal had often forgotten.
However, defensive football is nothing new to Mourinho and he said of the change of mentality in English football: “My team is playing very well but for many, many years in my career, especially in this country, when my teams were ruthless and phenomenal defensively, and very good in the counter attack, I listen week after week that it was not enough in spite of winning the title three times.
“It looks like this season to be phenomenal defensively and good in counter attack is art, so it was a big change in England.
“But my Manchester United, I don’t want to change the profile of our play, this is the way the fans want us to play, this is the way the club wants us to play.
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“But I also don’t want to be a manager of a team who plays very well, creates a lot of chances and doesn’t win matches. We need to score goals.”