Manchester United host Chelsea this weekend as we get the next installment “Mourinho vs Conte” which has been Premier League’s most intense Manager feud in recent seasons. Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte have tested each other’s limits by making strong comments against each other which always makes for fascinating press conferences when asked about each other.
It was back in October 2016 when Mourinho first lost his coll against Conte following the Italian’s excessive celebrations after Chelsea’s 4th goal against Manchester United. Mourinho thought Conte’s celebration lacked class and ended up giving birth to the “Mourinho vs Conte” feud.
Since then we have seen Mourinho label Chelsea being a defensive side (What an irony!), Conte question Man United’s spending powers, Mourinho taking a jibe at Conte’s hair transplant which resulted in Conte dictating Mourinho to keep out of his business and focus on his own team.
Mourinho however, continued the assault and referred Conte (albeit in a mysterious way) as a clown who loves to run around the touchline and later took a vile dig at Conte’s match-fixing scandal while his time in Italy. The match-fixing comments took the “Mourinho vs Conte” feud to a whole new level as Conte ensured he would never forget what Mourinho has said.
Although we have seen both managers stay out of each other’s way in recent past but with Manchester United set to take on Chelsea this weekend, expect the two managers to open the Pandora’s box yet again and come up with strong remarks despite suggestions from Mourinho that he is ready to make peace with his Chelsea counterpart.
“Mourinho vs Conte” isnt the only managerial feud in Premier League football as over the years a certain Sir Alex Ferguson walked with a target on his back where every manager wanted a piece of him and yet Sir Alex ended up winning 13 Premier League titles.
Top-5 Premier League Managerial Rivalries
1). Sir Alex Ferguson vs Kevin Keegan
Who could forget that famous rant from then Newcastle United manager Kevin Keegan in the 1995/96 season where he claimed that he would be delighted to see Manchester United lose in their next match and vowed to push United right till the end for the Premier League title.
However, that rant was all Keegan could come up with as Man United went on to win the league title many experts believe that Sir Alex Ferguson got inside Keegan’s head that day when he delivered that famous rant and could never focus on the job which eventually saw Newcastle United drift away in the title race.
2). Jose Mourinho vs Arsene Wenger
This particular Premier League manager rivalry has seen it all. From vile comments being thrown at each other to even the two managers going fist-fighting on the touchlines. It was a Stamford Bridge during Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Arsenal when Wenger lost the plot and ended up pushing Mourinho away after the Frenchman was asked to go to his dugout and mind his own business.
However, this was only the boiling point which we all saw Mourinho vs Wenger has been one of the best Manager rivalries of all time and we could do a seperate piece on that. Mourinho once called Wenger a “Specialist in failure” following Arsenal’s incapabilities to win a major title and yet continue to be the Arsenal manager for all the years.
3). Sir Alex Ferguson vs Rafa Benitez
This particular Premier League manage rivalry saw its tipping point when Rafa Benitez (then Liverpool manager) came with several pieces of paper in his hand and started taking sly digs at Sir Alex Ferguson and trying to prove how he gets away with things despite bullying refs and Premier League into favoring Manchester United.
Like Keegan, Benitez lost the mind games against Sir Alex and Man United trumped Liverpool for the league title and Benitez’s FACT RANT now only serves as a video for the Man United fans to look back and rejoice.
4). Rafa Benitez vs Sam Allardyce
Rafa Benitez had a massive disagreement over Sam Allardyce‘s management style and felt that all Sam Allardyce’s team could do is to play long-balls and hope for a draw, let alone win against bigger team.
Taking a sly dig at Big Sam, Rafa once said: “I think he’s a model for all the managers around the world. I’m sure he’s a model. His style of football, his behaviour, everything. He’s the perfect model for all the kids. Their style of football… I think Barcelona are thinking of copying the style”
However, Given Allardyce’s approach to things, he hardly paid any attention to Benitez’s comments and kept playing the way he thought his team can get a result. Benitez’s comments and Allardyce’s reaction indeed made this as one of the all-time great Premier League managerial rivalries.
5). Sir Alex Ferguson vs Arsene Wenger
Had this been in the early 2000’s this would have been the biggest Premier League managerial rivalry of all time, however, as Arsenal began to lose their grip over the title race Sir Alex Ferguson grew a soft spot for Arsene Wenger had their rivalry had turned into a case of mutual respect and admiration.
In his latter years, journalists were unable to bring out a negative comment on Wenger from Sir Alex and the former Man United manager always stood by Wenger in the toughest phase of criticisms.
However, when the two had a go against each other we saw some classic moments on the touch lines, in press conferences and one particular incident in the tunnel where Sir Alex got a pizza on his face for his troubles of beating and ratting Arsenal to many Premier League titles.