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Antonio Conte Calls Jose Mourinho 'A Little Man' and 'A Fake'

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IJanuary 6, 2018

NORWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 06:  Antonio Conte, Manager of Chelsea gives instructions during The Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Norwich City and Chelsea at Carrow Road on January 6, 2018 in Norwich, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has continued his war of words with Jose Mourinho and has called the Manchester United boss "a little man" and "a fake."

The Italian spoke after Saturday's FA Cup third-round draw with Norwich City at Carrow Road and did not hold back when asked about Mourinho, per the  Mirror's Darren Lewis:

Darren Lewis @MirrorDarren

Conte goes in again on Mourinho: “He is a little man. He was a little man in the past and I consider him a man of very low profile.” @MirrorFootball

Darren Lewis @MirrorDarren

Conte: “He is doing this with regularity. I remember when he offended Ranieri for his English. Then when Ranieri was sacked he had wore a shirt. He is a fake.”

Goal's Nizaar Kinsella provided background on Conte's relationship with Nantes manager Claudio Ranieri:

Nizaar Kinsella @NizaarKinsella

Antonio Conte regards Claudio Ranieri as one of his only true friends in football management. He says Mourinho was acting "fake" to wear CR initials on his training top after Leicester sacked his friend. This was because Mou had previously attacked Ranieri #NORCHE #CFC

The Chelsea boss was responding to comments from Mourinho on Friday when the Portuguese said he would never be "suspended for match-fixing," per BBC Sport.

Conte incurred a four-month suspension during the 2012-13 season while in charge of Juventus. The ban was in relation to the Italian's failure to report match-fixing during his time at his previous club Siena. A court subsequently cleared Conte of any wrongdoing in 2016.

The Italian had previously commented Mourinho was suffering from "demenza senile" after the United manager said he did not behave "as a clown on the touchline" in reference to the Italian, per Matt Law at the  Telegraph.

However, the Chelsea's manager's latest comments suggest the relationship between the two men has hit a new low.

Conte also said he is looking forward to facing Mourinho when the teams meet at Old Trafford in the Premier League on 25 February, per Matt McGeehan of Press Association Sport:

Matt McGeehan @mattmcgeehan

Conte: "The situation is very clear. I don't have anything to clarify. It will be the opportunity in the game against United when we go to Old Trafford. Me and him face to face. I'm ready. I don't know if he's ready."

Freelance journalist Dan Levene says the two managers are at war:

Dan Levene @danlevene

And that is it from a fiery Antonio Conte at Carrow Road. This is all out war with Jose Mourinho. And Conte isn't only fighting his own corner, he's fighting for Claudio Ranieri too. Blimey.

While Mourinho is known for his often controversial, provocative remarks, it is something of a surprise to see Conte respond in such a heated manner. The Italian has endured a tough defence of the Premier League title, with the club in third place and 16 points behind leaders Manchester City.

They also face a tough test in the UEFA Champions League, having finished second in their group and been drawn to face Barcelona in the last 16.

The 48-year-old has also seemed frustrated by Chelsea's transfer activities and has said he has always worked at clubs that have had to make "economic sacrifices," per ESPN FC's Liam Twomey.

Conte was speaking after watching Championship side Norwich hold his much-changed team goalless in a disappointing display. Chelsea must now add a replay to their already busy schedule, which may be the last thing Conte would have wanted and will stretch his thin squad even further.

Mourinho's comments are often intended to rile, but Conte's frustrations appear to be growing, and the feud looks far from over.

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