Conte denies Mourinho rift ahead of FA Cup final

Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte have had a long-running feud, but the Italian says he has no problem with the Manchester United boss.

Jose Mourinho with Antonio Conte   -  Getty Images

Antonio Conte says he has a "great respect" for Manchester United's progress under Jose Mourinho as he prepares to renew their rivalry in the FA Cup final.

Chelsea booked a May clash with United by beating Southampton 2-0 at Wembley on Sunday thanks to second-half goals from Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata.

With United having beaten Tottenham 2-1 in the first semi-final, Conte and Mourinho, who had two spells in charge of Chelsea, will now go head-to-head in the final on May 19.

Conte described Mourinho as a "little man" and "fake" as a row between the pair threatened to boil over in January, the United boss having provoked an angry response from the former Juventus coach when he mentioned a ban the Italian received for failing to report match-fixing, although he was later cleared of any wrongdoing.

The 48-year-old also accused Mourinho of having "demenza senile" after the Portuguese hit out at the touchline behaviour of his counterparts, labelling them "clowns", but Conte now appears ready to move on from the feud.

"With Jose, we have clarified the situation," Conte told reporters. 

"This is the most important thing. There is not a problem between him and I.

"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 repeat. 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."

Chelsea lost to Arsenal in last year's final as Conte sought to deliver the double in his first season in charge at Chelsea.

And the Italian believes United should be considered the favourites for this season's final.

"I think this final is a game between two great teams: Manchester United and Chelsea," Conte said. 

"For sure, in my mind, I can tell you that we played last season in the final and arrived as favourites against Arsenal. This season, we are arriving not as favourites. 

"But, as you know very well, we lost the final despite being favourites in my mind."

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