Roberto Mancini has taken a sly dig at Jose Mourinho ahead of Galatasaray's trip to face Chelsea in the Champions League, suggesting the Blues boss doesn't have any friends in football.
The pair clashed prior to the round of 16 first-leg tie on Feb. 26, but Mancini believes he said "normal things" before suggesting Mourinho is something of a loner, per Simon Johnson of the London Evening Standard: "In Istanbul we saw each other and said only 'hello.' We certainly aren't friends. ... I don't think Mourinho wants to have friends, or maybe that's just the way he likes to appear."
Mancini previously aimed to belittle Mourinho's success when the Portuguese manager replaced him as Inter Milan boss in 2008. "Mourinho won the Champions League because he took a good team," said Mancini, as reported by ESPN.co.uk.
Mourinho responded with his usual wit, giving Mancini little room to respond by suggesting the Italian only built half a team at the San Siro: "It's funny because my (Inter) team in the final had Lucio, Thiago Motta, Diego Milito, Samuel Eto'o, Goran Pandev and Wesley Sneijder. From 11 players, he didn't work with six of them. So he made a five-a-side team because I played with only five players from his team."
Which team will win this match?
A week barely seems to go by without Mourinho making headlines through a quote or action. His latest incident came during Chelsea's recent defeat to Aston Villa, as he entered the pitch after Willian and Ramires were sent off, per Martin Lipton of the Mirror.
Galatasaray looked to be struggling during the opening stages of their tie with Mourinho's side, highlighted by Fernando Torres' simple finish on nine minutes. Mancini managed to trump his opposite number in the tactical stakes by altering his dynamic 4-2-4 formation to gain a foothold in the match.
The Turkish side played excellently after this first-half switch and fully deserved Aurelien Chedjou's equaliser with 25 minutes to go. In fact, few complaints could have been lodged had the underdogs headed to England with a first-leg win.
Mancini can't afford to send out the wrong team at Stamford Bridge, where his fiery attitude is sure to help his players on their quest to cause an upset. Mourinho and his team will have plenty to think about if Galatasaray score early.
We can expect Mourinho to fire some sort of barb Mancini's way during his pre-match press conference, no matter how subtle it may be. "The Special One" rarely fails to react and will ensure he is in the spotlight ahead of the upcoming contest, keeping his players away from the press.
He has managed to redirect focus away from Ramires after his nasty red card challenge during the Villa match, per Martyn Ziegler of the Press Association:
Only just seen the Ramires challenge - shocker. No wonder Mourinho is employing distraction tactics.— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) March 17, 2014
Should a journalist tempt Mourinho with the right question, fireworks may ensure by the time Chelsea and Galatasaray head onto the pitch.