Inter Milan boss Antonio Conte plays down heated rivalry with Roma’s new manager Jose Mourinho, as he insists his appointment is ‘GREAT news for everybody’ before claiming there is ‘great respect between us’
- Jose Mourinho was surprisingly named as Roma’s new manager on Tuesday
- His appointment is set to renew a managerial rivalry with Antonio Conte
- The duo had a bitter relationship during their days managing in England
- But Conte has been quick to play down any renewed war of words between duo
Antonio Conte has admitted he has no problems with managerial counterpart Jose Mourinho despite their heated rivalry from their Premier League days.
Mourinho was surprisingly announced as Roma’s new manager on Tuesday afternoon, in which he will replace Paulo Fonseca in the Italian capital ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.
Mourinho’s appointment, just weeks after he was sacked by Tottenham, means he will battle it out with former Premier League rival and Inter Milan boss Conte next season – a meeting that is set to spark a renewed rivalry.
Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte endured a fiery relationship during their time in England
However, Conte – who just wrapped up Inter’s first Serie A title triumph since 2010 – refused to renew a war of words with his counterpart following his appointment at the Stadio Olimpico.
‘It’s great news for everybody, I wish him the best, except when he plays against Inter,’ Conte said during an interview with Italian TV show Le Iene when he found out about Mourinho’s new move.
And when asked if they will hug when they meet again on the touchline, Conte replied: ‘For sure, there is great respect between us.’
Whether the managerial duo remain respectful to each other on the sidelines for long remains to be seen following an almost two-year long feud in the Premier League during their days managing Chelsea and Man United respectively.
The feud between the pair begun in October 2016 when Mourinho slammed Conte’s zealous celebrations in the final minutes of Chelsea’s 4-0 win over United at Stamford Bridge.
The pair are now set to renew their rivalry in Serie A with Inter Milan and Roma respectively
Mourinho’s frustration was evident at the full-time whistle when he went to approach Conte.
Italian TV reported that he angrily said to his rival at the final whistle: ‘You don’t celebrate like that at 4-0, you can do it at 1-0, otherwise it’s humiliating for us.’
The war of words continued between the pair, with Mourinho then aiming a sly dig at Conte in February 2017 by labelling Chelsea a ‘defensive’ team under the Italian.
The pair then came to blows during an FA Cup encounter between the two teams at Stamford Bridge in March 2017, when Chelsea won 1-0 after Ander Herrera had been sent off.
After Mourinho bemoaned the red card decision, Conte attacked Mourinho’s tactics by referring to United’s targeting of Eden Hazard.
And things only became more heated after Conte then made a veiled shot at Mourinho in the summer of 2017 after guiding Chelsea to the Premier League title.
Despite their fractious relationship, Conte claims there is ‘great respect between us’
Conte warned his players that July: ‘Two years ago Chelsea finished 10th. That cannot happen again. We know the difficulty and for sure we want to avoid the Mourinho season with Chelsea.
‘The coaches of the previous two champions [Chelsea and Leicester] both lost their jobs [the next season] and we are working very well to find the best solutions and use them.’
Mourinho was reluctant to fire directly back at Conte but replied: ‘I could answer in many different ways but I’m not going to lose my hair to speak about Antonio Conte,’ implicitly referring to the Italian’s hair transplant.
Plenty more jibes were aimed at each other before they went their separate ways with Mourinho, in January 2018, alluding to Conte’s match-fixing suspension before the Italian repeatedly referred to his adversary as a ‘little man’ in response to his verbal attack.
The pair appear to have since put their differences aside but perhaps regular meetings in Serie A will renew that managerial rivalry.
Mourinho will take over as Roma boss from next season after he was recently sacked by Spurs
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