Chelsea boss Antonio Conte suggested on Friday that Jose Mourinho has “senile dementia” and that the Manchester United manager is still focused on events at Stamford Bridge two years after he was sacked.
Mourinho, who had two spells as Chelsea boss and is Conte’s immediate predecessor, appeared to take a swipe at the Italian — and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp — for their antics in the technical area on Thursday, when he said he did not feel the need to behave like “a clown” on the touchline.
Asked about Mourinho’s comments on Friday, Conte used the Italian phrase “demenza senile” in relation to the Portuguese, which translates as senile dementia.
“I think he has to see himself in the past — maybe he was speaking about himself in the past,” said Conte. “Maybe, sometimes, I think that someone forgets what’s said in the past, which is his behaviour.
“Sometimes I think there is, I don’t know the name, but demenza senile… when you forget what you do in the past.”
Conte is in his second season as Chelsea head coach, as Mourinho is at United.
Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea in December 2015 and the Blues finished 10th, after which Conte guided them to the title in his first season as boss.
Conte added of the Portuguese: “There is a person that continues to look here. You understand? He went away, but he continued to look here.”
The Italian, whose side play at Norwich in the FA Cup third round on Saturday, described the verbal sparring between Premier League bosses as “very strange” but he also responded to comments from Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
Wenger accused Eden Hazard of diving to earn a penalty in Wednesday’s 2-2 Premier League draw, but Conte believes other decisions went the Gunners’ way and referred to previous meetings.
“I think if Arsene Wenger watched the game again, (he would) understand he was very lucky during the game with the referee’s decisions,” said the Chelsea boss.
“Don’t forget, in the last few games (with Arsenal) we finished the game with 10 men, when they won the FA Cup, the Community Shield. I think the referee’s decision(s) were a bit strange.
“If I want I can talk about refereeing decisions for one month. But I don’t want to do this. I think we must have respect for referees’ decisions.
“I think Wenger has to accept the decisions. He’s an old coach, he has a lot of experience, he won a lot. He has to continue to do what he did in the past.”