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Manchester United v Chelsea: ´Specialist in failure´, eye-pokes and Mourinho´s other best rows

22 February 2018 09:00

Jose Mourinho faces off against Antonio Conte in the Premier League on Sunday in the latest chapter of their rivalry.

With Pep Guardiola and Mourinho in the midst of a relative detente and the latter apparently bored of riling Arsene Wenger, Conte has been in the Manchester United manager's sights all season.

An extraordinary row between Conte and his Chelsea predecessor played out in public last month. Can they keep their tempers under control this weekend?

In the aftermath, Mourinho claimed not to like confrontations with other coaches. The evidence below suggests otherwise.

 

"Demenza senile"

Premier League managers having a go at each other is nothing new, but it felt like Conte and Mourinho crossed a line earlier this season. Mourinho appeared to implicate Conte when he suggested counterparts act like "clowns" on the touchline, with the Italian often running into the crowd to celebrate Chelsea goals.

From there, the row quickly escalated. Conte hit back, suggesting Mourinho was suffering from "demenza senile", which translates as senile dementia. Mourinho famously ran down the touchline at Old Trafford when Porto scored a key Champions League winner, but Conte had gone too far and Chelsea quickly clarified that he meant "amnesia".

Having successfully provoked Conte, Mourinho blamed the media for the whole affair and referenced match-fixing allegations made against Siena during Conte's time in charge. The former Italy boss served a ban but was later cleared of any wrongdoing. 

Conte then called Mourinho a "little man" and suggested he would seek to meet his rival "in a room" to sort out their difficulties. We await the next chapter...

Poking Tito Vilanova in the eye

It was assumed that Guardiola and Mourinho would renew their old rivalry when the pair were appointed by Manchester City and United 18 months ago, but the row has yet to boil over.

The closest they have come to fireworks was a clash in the Old Trafford tunnel following City's 2-1 win in December's Manchester derby. Mourinho allegedly went to the away dressing room to complain over the volume of City's celebrations, only for a melee to ensue. Guardiola was not present at the time and Mourinho later blamed a "diversity in education" between the two Manchester squads for the fracas.

Mourinho and Guardiola go way back, with the Portuguese believing he should have been appointed by Barcelona before they moved for their former player. Later, while in charge of Real Madrid, Mourinho saw his side thrashed 5-0 at Camp Nou, while he was sent off for gouging the eye of Guardiola's assistant, Tito Vilanova, during the 2011 Supercopa de Espana. Mourinho also suggested Guardiola's Barcelona won the 2010-11 Champions League by virtue of generous refereeing.

It has been altogether much calmer between the pair this season - Guardiola even suggested he and Mourinho are "twins" as they share a winning mentality. But Mourinho can never resist a dig and, having accused City players of diving in the build-up to December's derby, he also had a pop following Guardiola's FA Cup exit to League One Wigan Athletic. United, apparently, are a "big team" in defeat. The inference was clear.

Wenger a 'specialist in failure'

That Mourinho has seemingly lost interest in rowing with Wenger is probably a sign of how far the Gunners have fallen under the veteran Frenchman. Mourinho no longer sees Wenger as a rival. It was not always the case, though, as Wenger was the subject of one of the 55-year-old's most famous rants, when he called the Arsenal manager a "specialist in failure".

Mourinho's Chelsea were a point clear of the Gunners atop the Premier League table in February 2014 when the Portuguese hit out at an long trophy-less wait for the Gunners. "If I do that in Chelsea, eight years, I leave and don't come back," Mourinho said.

Back in 2005, Wenger was called a "voyeur" by Mourinho. "He likes to watch other people," he said. "There are some guys who, when they are at home, have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. He speaks, speaks, speaks about Chelsea."

"I don't want to win the Europa League"

Mourinho often seems to have a problem with managers who succeed him at clubs, with Rafael Benitez drawing his ire on multiple occasions. 

After Mourinho left Inter, Benitez took over and claimed the Club World Cup with the Serie A side. "I thought he was going to thank me for the title I gave him," said the ex-Porto boss

Benitez took charge of Chelsea briefly between Mourinho's two spells at Stamford Bridge, leading the Blues to Europa League glory. "I don't want to win the Europa League," Mourinho said. "It would be a big disappointment for me."

Mourinho had obviously changed his tune by last season, when winning the Europa League earned Manchester United a route into the Champions League.

Parking the bus

Mourinho's United have often been accused of 'parking the bus', which is ironic as he is credited with introducing the phrase to English football.

After a 0-0 draw against Tottenham in 2004 during his first Chelsea spell, Mourinho said: "As we say in Portugal, they brought the bus and they left the bus in front of the goal."

And after Inter knocked out Barca on the way to the Champions League title in 2010, Mourinho extended the metaphor further.

"We won the tie in Barcelona but everyone talks about Barcelona winning and says we parked the bus in front of the goal," said Mourinho. "We didn't park the bus, we parked the plane."

What will Mourinho be parking at Old Trafford when Conte's Chelsea come to town? It probably won't be animosity.

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