Antonio Conte Ready for a “Fight” with Critical Opposing Managers

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Chelsea Manager Antonio Conte is definitely feeling very combative and defensive right now. He said today that he is ready for “a fight” with any managerial rival that keeps up their criticism of he and his players. He’s currently traded barbs with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, and now finds himself in a full blown war of wards with Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho.

Conte was strongly offended by remarks Mourinho made at his press conference yesterday; remarks the Italian interpreted as a dig at his touchline behavior.

Conte responded by saying Mourinho has amnesia for his own past antics, triggering another verbal attack from Mourinho.

jose mourinho antonio conte

This time, Mourinho made reference to match-fixing, a thinly veiled swipe at the infraction which caused Conte to serve a four month suspension in 2011. The Italian was later acquitted.

While that tiff has blown up, the row with Wenger is currently smaller in scale. Conte took exception to Wenger’s diving accusations against Chelsea star Eden Hazard. Hazard maintains that the official made the correct call on the play in question.

On Friday, Wenger doubled down on his position, agitating Conte enough to take a couple swipes at the Frenchman.

This could just be the warm up by the way. Antonio Conte promises more fireworks to come, should he or his players continue to be criticized.

“In my one year and a half (in the Premier League) I never talked about other coaches,” Conte said.

“If I spoke about other coaches, it was only to make compliments. Otherwise I stay silent but I repeat: In this situation, you must have respect and I think that I do this, but at the same time I am starting to be a bit annoyed because once, twice (it has occurred).”

“The people who know me very well in Italy (understand me)…for this reason you must pay great attention when you speak because if you want to go to fight with me I am ready. I have zero problems.”

“I am improving a bit my English because this is the real problem for me, otherwise we can go to fight. I’m ready to fight for me, my players, the club, with everyone. I have no problem.”

At that point he almost started to sound like a hip-hop diss track. Or at least embodying the theme of pop princess Taylor Swift’s hit song “look what you made me do.”

Asked if rival managers hitting out at him has caused agitation, he said:

“I must be honest- I don’t read (it). The only opportunity to know about these situations is during the news conference. I am not prepared like other persons to make a cinema, because there are other persons who prepare to have a cinema in the news conference, before the game and during the game. I am not this type of person.”

“At the same time, when I start to listen with regularity to this situation it is right to answer, because it is funny and I laugh a lot.”

antonio conte

The “cinema” comments are a thinly disguised dig at Mourinho.

Grab your popcorn, because we’re just getting started here in these verbal sparring matches. It’s like that there’s more conflict to come.

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.

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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