Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, has insisted that his past conflicts with his Manchester United counterpart, Jose Mourinho, will not overshadow next month’s FA Cup final.
The Blues booked their place by defeating Southampton 2-0 at Wembley on Sunday, a day after United eliminated Tottenham with a 2-1 win.
The final will also reunite Conte with the manager he called a “little man” and a “fake” back in January, in response to Mourinho’s decision to reference the match-fixing investigation he faced during his time coaching in Italy.
But speaking in a news conference after Chelsea’s victory, Conte was adamant that next month’s final will not be about the two men on the touchline.
“With Jose, we have clarified the situation,” Conte said.
“This is the most important thing. There is not a problem between him and I. I think this final is a game between two great teams:
Manchester United and Chelsea.
“We are talking about two managers with strong characters, and two winners. When in your mind and your heart and your blood there is the will to win, for sure, we want to try to win this trophy. The same way Manchester United want to do this.
“I have great respect for United’s story, for Mourinho’s story. They have the same respect, I think, for Chelsea’s story and my story.”
Conte however suggested that United and Mourinho will be under more pressure to lift the FA Cup at Wembley next month.
“For sure, in my mind, I can tell you that we played last season in the final and arrived as favourites against Arsenal,” he added.
“This season, we are arriving not as favourites. But, as you know very well, we lost the final despite being favourites in my mind.”