Jose Mourinho has taken an extraordinary swipe at Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, escalating a war of words between the pair after the Italian had said his counterpart may have ‘senile dementia’ during his press conference on Friday.
The United boss saw his side beat Derby County 2-0 in the FA Cup on Friday night, though earlier this week had labelled some of his rival bosses as "clowns" for acting wildly on the touchlines. Chelsea boss Conte and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp were, presumably, his targets.
His comments were brought up to Conte as he spoke to journalists ahead of Chelsea's match with Norwich City this evening. And the Italian didn't seem too happy, responding, via the Independent: "I think he has to see himself in the past - maybe he was speaking about himself in the past.
I've heard Mourinho chuck some proverbial grenades in press conferences over the years but this is the first one I've had to run past the lawyers first— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) January 5, 2018
"Maybe, sometimes, I think that someone forgets what's said in the past, which is his behaviour. Sometimes I think there is, I don't know the name, but demenza senile...when you forget what you do in the past."
Mourinho first blamed Conte’s words on the press misrepresenting something that he himself had said, looking for all the world as though he was happy to let the matter drop before suddenly performing a screeching U-turn and taking a dig at Conte’s one-time ban for failing to report alleged match-fixing in Italy.
The then-Juventus manager was banned for nearly a year in 2012 - reduced to four months on appeal - before eventually being completely cleared of the charges in 2016.
Speaking after his side’s win though, Mourinho said, via the Guardian: "I don't blame him. Honestly. I don't blame him, I think the press should apologise to me and him. Because the question that comes to him is completely wrong, and because of that, he had that out of control reaction. But I don't blame him at all.
"I was asked about my passion, and you know I was speaking about myself, and then the question to the Chelsea manager was that I told he behaved like a clown. Probably the journalist wanted to say that but didn't have the courage, so he said 'Mourinho said you behaved like a clown.' I don't blame the Chelsea manager at all, and I understand his reaction. I was speaking about myself saying I don't need to behave like a clown to show passion.
"I control my emotions in a better way. Everybody knows, I don't need the Chelsea manager to say I made mistakes in the past. And I will make in the future hopefully.”
He went on to add: "The only way I want to end the story is, yes, I made mistakes in the past on the touchline, and yes, I will make less, but I'll still make a few. What has never happened to me and will never happen is to be suspended for match fixing. That never happened to me, and it will never happen."
When asked to clarify his match-fixing comment in the context of Conte’s past ban, he said: "Did he? Not me."