In reply to that comment, Jose Mourinho was quoted as saying: “What never happened to me, and what will never happen to me, is to be suspended for match-fixing,”.
He was of course talking about a four-month ban levied against Conte while the Italian was managing Juventus in 2012. It stemmed from alleged match-fixing involving Conte’s former club, Siena, while he was in charge.
Conte had originally been charged with the actual match fixing. Those charges were dismissed, but he was still punished for failing to report the fix. He was initially hit with a 10-month suspension, but had it reduced to four months on appeal.
Conte has always firmly denied the accusations, and was finally acquitted of any wrong-doing by an Italian court in 2016 – two months before he arrived at Chelsea. So when those two words flew out of Mourinho’s mouth, there was no way he could let them pass without a response.
Less than 24 hours later, Conte fired his own salvo. And this is what he had to say:
“When the target is to offend, to insult another person, you are a little man,” Conte said after a 0-0 FA Cup draw with Norwich. “We all know him very well. He’s always the same.
“This is his way. This is not a surprise for me. When you insult, offend another person, it means you’re a little man. He’s a little man.”