Antonio Conte‘s former assistant admits the Italian’s rivalry with Jose Mourinho has been ‘blown out of proportion’ despite ‘not pleasant words’ being thrown by the managers.
Mourinho was appointed as the new Roma manager on Tuesday and will take over the Giallorossi from the start of next season, with the aim of overthrowing Conte’s Inter Milan from the top of Serie A after they were crowned champions last week.
Conte and Mourinho have clashed together before when the pair managed Chelsea and Manchester United respectively but Conte’s ex-right-hand man Angelo Alessio revealed there was a misunderstanding between the pair at the time.
Angelo Alessio (left) claims Antonio Conte (right) does not have a rivalry with Jose Mourinho
Conte (right) and Mourinho (left) clashed a number of times when they managed English teams
Recalling the rivalry, Alessio told Football Italia: ‘I remember we beat Manchester United and Mourinho was upset due to Antonio’s celebration. They continued to taunt each other for some time after that.
‘Sometimes things get blown out of proportion. There were not pleasant words between them, but it all began with a misunderstanding.
‘That time, Mourinho was annoyed with Conte’s celebration, but that’s what Antonio always does. Everyone knows that, it was a regular celebration for him.
‘They are smart people, so in the end, they cleared the air. Now they respect each other and I am sure we’ll see that when they meet next season.’
Mourinho (left) will be joining Conte in Serie A next season when he takes over at AS Roma
Conte and Mourinho faced off six times in England, with the Italian having the better rub on the green by winning four times – all of them via clean sheet victories. Their most recent encounter was the 2018 FA Cup final when Conte’s Chelsea won 1-0 against Mourinho’s Red Devils.
The most fiery altercation between the pair came at the end of Chelsea’s 4-0 win over Mourinho’s Manchester United, when the Portuguese coach shouted in Conte’s ear during the post-match handshake.
After seeing Conte trying to motivate the Chelsea fans near the end of the game, Mourinho was heard saying in Italian: ‘You don’t celebrate like that at 4-0, you can do it at 1-0 – otherwise it’s humiliating.’
Mourinho (left) took issue with Conte’s over-exuberant celebrations at Chelsea in late 2016
Conte then described the ‘Special One’ as the ‘little man’ during a press conference in 2018.
Mourinho, who did manage two wins against Conte’s Chelsea between 2016 and 2018, has only taken on the 51-year-old once in Italian domestic football – a 1-1 draw between Atalanta and Inter back in December 2009.
Conte was the first permanent manager Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich brought in after the Russian sacked Mourinho in December 2015 and the Italian managed to win the Premier League title in his first season in charge at Stamford Bridge in 2017.
Conte reacted with surprise to the announcement of Mourinho’s arrival at Roma on Tuesday
Conte (right) has wished Mourinho (second right) the best when he arrives at Roma this year
The Italian only lasted 12 more months in west London and was sacked in 2018, but has responded in his first job back in football since then by helping Inter to their first Scudetto title this season since Mourinho won Italy’s top-flight back in 2011.
Conte was told the news of Mourinho’s arrival at Roma next season by Italian TV show Le Iene and, after being initially surprised by the Portuguese manager’s return to Serie A, claimed he was looking forward to locking horns with the 58-year-old again.
Conte said: ‘Look… Mourinho coming back to Italy is certainly good news for everyone. I wish him the best, apart from when he will play against Inter.’