Mourinho won’t twist the knife as he leaps to Conte defence

Date published: Tuesday 6th March 2018 9:37

Jose Mourinho insists Chelsea remain a fantastic team and claims criticism of their form this season is “quite ridiculous”.

The Manchester United boss has become embroiled in a war of words with his Chelsea successor this season, during which time Mourinho had questioned Conte’s integrity for becoming embroiled in a match-fixing scandal – from which the Italian was later exonerated – and the Blues boss responded by calling his rival a “little man”.

And with the critics mounting on the Italian, many would have expected Mourinho to take the chance to twist the knife.

Conte’s position at Stamford Bridge is said to hinge on their Champions League progression – they were held 1-1 by Barcelona in the first left of their last-16 tie – with the Blues currently five points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham and looking in serious danger of missing out on a return to the Champions League.

Gary Neville has become the latest pundit to question Conte’s tactics, admiting their display at Manchester City left him “disgusted”.

However, in a move that would suggest a thawing between the duo, Mourinho said of Conte after United’s 3-2 win at Crystal Palace: “Honestly, I know what you are writing as a consequence of yesterday.

“But Chelsea is a fantastic team and, I know it looks a bit strange because you know we had problems in the past, but it’s quite ridiculous that I have to say how unfair it is to speak the way people are speaking about the English champion.

“They are still the English champion. Chelsea was strong against us. They started very strong and created difficulty in that initial part of the game.”

 

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