Earlier this year, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and Chelsea boss Antonio Conte provided us all a feud that was as bitter and as extensive as we’ve seen in many years. The war of words dragged on and on as both men have powerfully sized egos and each wanted to be the one who got the last word in.
Eventually the spat subsided, but with the two teams clashing on Sunday at Old Trafford it becomes a hot topic again. Both managers met the media today ahead of the match, and both bosses were asked about the feud. Neither man looked to escalate/reignite the situation. Both bosses avoided discussing the topic.
“I don’t want to speak about it, I’m not going to speak about it. That’s not the point, very good manager, fantastic team and that’s what is important for me,” Mourinho answered when pressed on the topic.
When the Mourinho situation was brought up, Conte responded: “It’s in the past. Both of us say these things. For me, it’s OK and I’m not interested to speak about this topic.”
He was then pressed on whether he would shake the United manager’s hand ahead of kickoff and Conte answered: “I’m not interested in this.”
Getting back to Mourinho, his way of fielding the inevitable question, relating to the topic that is top of mind for everyone who is playing close attention to the game is to deflect, and shift the focus to United versus Chelsea, not Mourinho versus Conte.
“For the past 10-15 years, Manchester United and Chelsea are big matches and this is one more,” Mourinho articulated.
“These are different circumstances because many times they were matches for the title and this time I think us and them agree that’s not the case but we play both for the top four. It is a big game independent of what is at stake. Last season, they were fighting to be champions and we were not fighting to be top four and it can [still] be a big game.”
Odds: Chelsea 5/2, Draw 23/10, United 13/10
Chelsea starting XI prediction: go to this link
Man United starting XI prediction: go to this link
Injury Report for both teams: go to this link
Antonio Conte press conference video: go to this link
Prediction: United 1, Chelsea 0
Feel free to post your own Chelsea and/or Man United starting XI predictions, as well as your best guess as to what the final score will be.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.
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