January 15, 2018

José Mourinho says he is man enough to apologise in latest Antonio Conte spat


José Mourinho has reignited the feud with Antonio Conte by stating he has been “man enough” to say sorry when in the wrong, with the Manchester United manager referencing his 2017 apology to Claudio Ranieri.

This appears to be a response to the Chelsea manager’s claim that Mourinho was “fake” regarding a move to make peace with Ranieri. The Portuguese had scorned Ranieri’s use of English but wore a training shirt to a press conference with CR embossed on it when Ranieri was sacked as Leicester manager last February.
Mourinho had appeared to draw a line under the dispute with Conte by stating he now felt “contempt” for his Chelsea counterpart. Asked whether he enjoyed the dispute with Conte and others he has been involved in, Mourinho said: “I don’t enjoy. When I start them I take the responsibilities of that and I’ve started many times. When I don’t start it’s quite funny for me to see other people on the other side acting like victims when they’re not the victims. But, really, I don’t enjoy. That’s why for me it’s over.

“Sometimes it’s my fault. Sometimes it’s other managers’ fault. When I think it’s my fault and I should behave in a different way I’m the first one to apologise, like I did with Ranieri when I had the chance. That’s when our relations went from bad to good and from good to very good because I was man enough to apologise.”

Mourinho said United were intent on extending David de Gea’s contract beyond the club’s option to keep the goalkeeper, who is again in superb form, for a further year until 2020.

“It’s obvious that we’re not going to let the option disappear,” he said. “A goalkeeper like he is and obviously a club that wants to be better and better and better, we are not going to let that year option go away. But obviously we are going to try [to further extend]. Mr Woodward [the executive vice‑chairman] is not on holiday. He barely has holidays.

“Of course he’s going to try to give him a contract that keeps him here for much longer than that option that of course we are going to execute. I don’t know [if talks are under way]. I just trust the board and the work they do. I don’t negotiate players, I don’t discuss numbers and contracts. I just say what is obvious. Anyone of you would say the same – David is to keep.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is expected to be available again in two to three weeks after a setback in his recovery from a serious knee injury. The manager is not concerned the 36-year-old will not make it back to full fitness.

“No – I was his manager when he was 29 [at Internazioanle], there is no chance he is going to be 29 again,” he said. “When I was managing him I was 40-something. There is no chance I will be 40-something again. I will be 55 next week – we cannot stop time and for players time means a lot. And Zlatan knows that.

“He knows that at the highest level he’s in the last part of his career but his dream, his desire, his fight was always to end in Manchester United his career at the highest level and, using the words he repeats all the time, being useful for me, for the team and that I think he can.

“He just needs to feel really happy with his knee, with his condition and that I think he can. As a leader in the dressing room, as a leader on the pitch, as a quality player on the pitch, I think he can do that and I think he deserves that and I’m here to try to help him do that.”


José Mourinho has reignited the feud with Antonio Conte by stating he has been “man enough” to say sorry when in the wrong, with the Manchester United manager referencing his 2017 apology to Claudio Ranieri.

This appears to be a response to the Chelsea manager’s claim that Mourinho was “fake” regarding a move to make peace with Ranieri. The Portuguese had scorned Ranieri’s use of English but wore a training shirt to a press conference with CR embossed on it when Ranieri was sacked as Leicester manager last February.
Mourinho had appeared to draw a line under the dispute with Conte by stating he now felt “contempt” for his Chelsea counterpart. Asked whether he enjoyed the dispute with Conte and others he has been involved in, Mourinho said: “I don’t enjoy. When I start them I take the responsibilities of that and I’ve started many times. When I don’t start it’s quite funny for me to see other people on the other side acting like victims when they’re not the victims. But, really, I don’t enjoy. That’s why for me it’s over.

“Sometimes it’s my fault. Sometimes it’s other managers’ fault. When I think it’s my fault and I should behave in a different way I’m the first one to apologise, like I did with Ranieri when I had the chance. That’s when our relations went from bad to good and from good to very good because I was man enough to apologise.”

Mourinho said United were intent on extending David de Gea’s contract beyond the club’s option to keep the goalkeeper, who is again in superb form, for a further year until 2020.

“It’s obvious that we’re not going to let the option disappear,” he said. “A goalkeeper like he is and obviously a club that wants to be better and better and better, we are not going to let that year option go away. But obviously we are going to try [to further extend]. Mr Woodward [the executive vice‑chairman] is not on holiday. He barely has holidays.

“Of course he’s going to try to give him a contract that keeps him here for much longer than that option that of course we are going to execute. I don’t know [if talks are under way]. I just trust the board and the work they do. I don’t negotiate players, I don’t discuss numbers and contracts. I just say what is obvious. Anyone of you would say the same – David is to keep.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is expected to be available again in two to three weeks after a setback in his recovery from a serious knee injury. The manager is not concerned the 36-year-old will not make it back to full fitness.

“No – I was his manager when he was 29 [at Internazioanle], there is no chance he is going to be 29 again,” he said. “When I was managing him I was 40-something. There is no chance I will be 40-something again. I will be 55 next week – we cannot stop time and for players time means a lot. And Zlatan knows that.

“He knows that at the highest level he’s in the last part of his career but his dream, his desire, his fight was always to end in Manchester United his career at the highest level and, using the words he repeats all the time, being useful for me, for the team and that I think he can.

“He just needs to feel really happy with his knee, with his condition and that I think he can. As a leader in the dressing room, as a leader on the pitch, as a quality player on the pitch, I think he can do that and I think he deserves that and I’m here to try to help him do that.”