Chelsea, Clubs, English Premier League, Manchester United, Story

The tension simmering between Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte the past few seasons finally came to a head in 2018.
Antonio Conte says Jose Mourinho has always been ‘a little man’ following Mourinho’s recent jibe about alleged match-fixing.
Jose Mourinho wasted no time responding to Antonio Conte’s criticism of his touchline antics, bringing up an incident from Conte’s time as manager of Siena.
The FC crew discuss the developing feud between Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte, which escalated with Mourinho’s match-fixing comment.

Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte will escape censure by the Football Association over their increasingly acrimonious war of words, with the governing body currently having no plans to intervene in the row between the Manchester United and Chelsea managers, sources have told ESPN FC.

While the FA has the power and authority to contact both Mourinho and Conte to seek an explanation for their recent verbal hostilities through the media, there is a hope within the organisation that the two men will bring an end to the public disharmony in the coming days and weeks.

Should the feud escalate, the FA could review its position, but at this stage there is no move within the disciplinary unit at Wembley to charge either manager.

In 2005, then-FA chairman Geoff Thompson publicly threatened to punish United and Arsenal unless the two clubs acted to end the long-running verbal spat between Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.

The Premier League also stepped in to encourage a halt to the outspoken public comments between Ferguson and Wenger — a move which led to senior figures at both United and Arsenal vowing to work towards building a healthier relationship between the two managers.

Mourinho and Conte’s row dates back to the United manager criticising Conte, his eventual successor at Chelsea, of being disrespectful while encouraging the crowd at Stamford Bridge during a 4-0 defeat of United in October 2016.

Conte then hit back at Mourinho two months ago in response to the Portuguese’s claims that rival managers “moan or cry” about injuries.

The animosity has stepped up to another level over the past week, however, with Conte suggesting Mourinho was suffering from “demenzia senile” in the wake of claims by the United manager that he does not “behave like a clown” on the touchline — a barb perceived to be aimed at Conte.

Mourinho then responded by suggesting he would never be “suspended for matchfixing” — Conte received a four-month ban in 2012-13 for failing to report matchfixing at previous club Siena before being cleared by an Italian court in 2016 — and the Chelsea manager chose to describe Mourinho as a “little man” after Saturday’s FA Cup clash with Norwich City.

United and Mourinho have now flown to Dubai for a week of warm weather training, so the Old Trafford manager is not due to speak to the media until later this week.

Conte is expected to speak ahead of Chelsea’s Carabao Cup semifinal first-leg against Arsenal on Wednesday.

Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_

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