Antonio Conte has tried to downplay his personal feud with Jose Mourinho by insisting that their previous clashes are now a thing of the past and that they have a common goal.
Conte’s Spurs side take on Mourinho’s Roma in Israel on Saturday in what will be their last pre-season game before the Premier League kicks off next weekend.
There is already an element of bite to the game given Mourinho’s unfortunate stint in charge of north London ending with his resignation in 2021, but Conte and Mourinho have often had bitter quarrels in the past.
Antonio Conte’s Tottenham face Roma in their last friendly of the season on Saturday
However, Conte believes that their common goal of dragging their respective sides into fights for domestic titles will unite them, claiming that they will hug each other as a mark of respect before kick-off.
“We have mutual respect and our history in football speaks for us. Now everything is fine and tomorrow there will definitely be a hug between us,” Conte said at his press conference.
“I think I see a similar situation between Roma and Tottenham as both clubs want to build, fight step by step against a team that has dominated in the past in Italy, Juventus and also a season Inter, Milan.
Roma boss Jose Mourinho was previously in charge of Spurs before being sacked in 2021
“For us City, Liverpool, Chelsea, United. It’s a good comparison, because we have the same goal.’
The two managers first feuded six years ago when Conte arrived at Chelsea, with his side beating Mourinho’s Manchester United 4-0, with the Italian giving him a verbal confrontation from Mourinho at the final whistle during the win. .
Mourinho has since gone on to joke about Conte’s previous fading hairline, saying he “wouldn’t lose my hair if I talked about Antonio Conte.”
Conte is known for his enthusiasm on the sidelines, which was fooled again in 2018 by Mourinho, who claimed he didn’t have to ‘act like a clown’, prompting Conte to hit back by insisting. that his rival is ‘senile dementia’ after his own past sideline histrionics.
The duo have been fierce rivals in the past while they were both in the Premier League
Mourinho then slyly claimed he was ‘never suspended for match fixing’, indirectly referring to Conte’s time in Siena more than a decade ago, even though the Italian was innocent of any wrongdoing and was never charged in connection with it during his time at the club .
However, the reference angered Conte who responded by calling Mourinho “a little man” before adding: “He was a little man in the past and he will be in the future. When is the game against United? We can meet in a room. To try to explain these comments. I don’t know if he’s ready to meet me in a room, just me and him.’
The rivalry has since been simmered by the lack of matches between the pair and it seems that enough water has now flowed under the bridge to put their history behind them.