Antonio Conte says he wants to emulate Jose Mourinho’s success at Chelsea

Antonio Conte says he wants to emulate Jose Mourinho’s success at Chelsea

Antonio Conte insists Jose Mourinho is one of the best coaches in the world and says he wants to emulate the success of his Chelsea predecessor.

Mourinho, whose Manchester United side visit Stamford Bridge in Monday’s FA Cup quarter-final, won three Premier League titles, three League Cups and one FA Cup in two spells as Blues boss.

Conte, who is on course to claim the Premier League title in his first season, asked for there to be no animosity towards the Portuguese on Monday and says he deserves the respect of Chelsea fans.

“For sure, I hope in the future to try to emulate his wins here,” Conte said. “I know very well he’s in the heart of Chelsea’s fans. It’s great this because he deserves this.

“I think Jose Mourinho wrote a good part of the history of Chelsea. It’s important, always, not to forget this. I have great respect for him because he’s a winner. I like his mentality. He has a winning mentality.

“For sure, he’s one of the best in the world and, here, he did a great job. I think every single fan must respect him.”

Mourinho, whose biggest Premier League loss was inflicted on his return to Stamford Bridge with United last October in a 4-0 defeat, has made pointed remarks about Chelsea’s counter-attacking style, but Conte denied this and suggested his focus has been working on breaking down defensive teams.

“I have to tell you one thing, not only here [at Chelsea], but I never, ever, ever train for the counter-attack,” Conte said.

“For me, it’s important to train the other aspects: when we have the ball, when we stay almost always in our opponents’ half, to find the right solution, to prepare when we are attacking.

“I think the counter-attack is an option, above all, if you have this type of player, players who are very, very fast. They know what they can do.”

After making changes in earlier FA Cup rounds, Conte hinted he would select his first-choice line-up for the visit of United as Chelsea’s next game, at Stoke in the Premier League, is five days later.

“I saw that, when you arrive at this level of the FA Cup, our championship stops to play FA Cup,” Conte said. “I want to make the best decision for the game against United. I don’t see the necessity to rest someone.”

Momentum is important to Conte, whose side are seeking a club record 13th successive home win.

“That’s the idea in my mind, in my mentality. Winning helps you win,” he added.

Conte’s Chelsea lead the Premier League by 10 points, with United a further seven points adrift, yet the Italian reckons United and Manchester City have stronger squads.

He said: “For the number of players in their squad, I think so. The number of quality [players], also.”

United’s trip to west London comes between legs of the Europa League tie with Rostov but Conte believes the Football Association have made concessions for the visitors.

“We could play also Sunday – or Saturday – if the federation decided it. But we are playing on Monday,” he said. “I think that the federation showed great respect for Manchester United to play the last day available to play in the FA Cup.”

Source: Sky Sports