Jose Mourinho claims he has ended his war of words with bitter rival Antonio Conte — but reopened old wounds with some of the Class of ’92.
Managers Mourinho and Conte have had a running verbal battle this season, which has given an extra edge to Saturday’s FA Cup final between their Manchester United and Chelsea sides.
But ahead of the Wembley showdown, Mourinho claimed he made peace with one of his Stamford Bridge successors when United beat the Blues 2-1 at Old Trafford in February, by inviting the Italian into his office afterwards.
Asked about his relationship with Conte, Mourinho said: “It’s okay. It’s okay. He stretched out, I stretched. We got bored.
“After the game here in Manchester, I invited him to come to my office. We talked. Nothing’s wrong.”
Mourinho went on to accuse former United players-turned-TV-pundits of wanting him to fail at Old Trafford.
“Some of the high-profile people in football have gone from players to weak and frustrated managers, and they return to football with the status of high-level pundits," he said.
“People remember more of what they were as players and not of what they were as managers.
“They are voices that influence public opinion.
“There are clubs where the old legend doesn’t want the glory of the new. The old legend who thinks he’ll only continue to be one if the club isn’t, without him, what it was with him.
“United have a huge history, with a lot of legends. Fortunately, we have a ‘Sir’ who is Sir [Alex Ferguson]. He’s ‘Sir’ in everything. In behaviour, in the passion for the club.”
Mourinho did not name names but Gary Neville is now back working as a pundit on Sky Sports after a brief, unsuccessful foray into management with Spanish club Valencia.
The United boss also revealed his new No.2 to replace the outgoing Rui Faria will be someone with whom he has worked before.
Aitor Karanka — currently manager of Championship side Nottingham Forest — is the strong favourite.
Ex-Middlesbrough boss Karanka was Mourinho’s No.2 at Real Madrid, and the Special One hinted at a reunion with the Spaniard.
“It’s a person who worked with me before, but I can’t say the name because he’s still linked to another club,” said Mourinho.
“[Newly-retired former United captain] Michael Carrick becomes a coach on the pitch, but I’m looking for two new people on the team.
“Good coaches there are many, but I like to make my assistants. I do not like trained coaches, I like to shape them in my way of thinking and they grow with me and I also grow with them.”
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