- Super User
- Category: Sports
- Friday, 10 March 2017 19:38
Stop the mind games as they won't help you win - Conte tells Mourinho ahead of FA Cup showdown...
Antonio Conte branded mind games meaningless on Friday– before claiming Manchester United’s squad was stronger than Chelsea’s.
Conte declared the kind of psychological warfare for which Jose Mourinho is notorious to have no impact on results as he prepared to pit his wits against his predecessor in the FA Cup four months after humiliating him in the Premier League.
Chelsea mocked United’s unbeaten run in the league since then in a preview to Monday’s match on their official website, which read: “It has lifted them all the way from sixth to sixth.”
Having riled Mourinho by whipping up of the crowd towards the end of his side’s 4-0 thrashing of United in October, Conte appeared eager to avoid stooping to such brickbats yesterday.
“I'm very focused on the pitch,” the Italian said. “The mind games don't bring you to win – above all if you face a team who is focused.
Mourinhos touchline spats
“We must talk during the game on the pitch, not before.”
No sooner had he said that than Conte – whose side are cruising to the title and lie 17 points clear of Monday’s opponents – declared United had a better squad than Chelsea.
“I think Manchester United, with City, have the best squad in the league,” he said.
“They have a lot, a number of great players, with great talent and great experience to win.”
Conte had earlier tried to play down October’s altercation with Mourinho, who accused his opposite number of humiliating him at the final whistle.
Conte is uninterested in the touch line dynamic between him and Mourinho Credit: Getty Images
Revealing the pair had no spoken since, former Juventus and Italy boss Conte said: “I’ve shown at Chelsea – not only Chelsea, every team that I managed – that I live the game with great passion.
“Sometimes, I want to share my enthusiasm, my passion with my players, with my staff, also with the fans. I think it’s normal.
“We are not in the same way. For me, the most important thing is to try to win and then think about another celebration.”
Conte, who has a fully-fit squad for Monday’s quarter-final, refused to reveal whether John Terry would start what could be his final ever cup tie at Stamford Bridge.
The club captain’s only starts since September have come in the cup competitions, including in their FA Cup wins against Peterborough, Brentford and Wolves.
Terry is out of contract this summer and this looks set to be his final season as a Chelsea player.
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Credit: The Telegraph