Jose Mourinho has fired a dig at Antonio Conte by claiming that his Chelsea side played better football than last season’s Premier League champions.
Conte guided Chelsea to the title in his first campaign in England, while Mourinho is searching for his first league trophy since guiding the Blues to victory in 2015.
In an interview with The Times, Mourinho hit back at being labelled as a manager who uses negative tactics, insisting that his Chelsea team in 2015 were ‘more offensive’ than Claudio Ranieri’s title-winning Leicester City side, or Conte’s set-up last term.
‘For me, let’s be honest and objective,’ said the Manchester United manager.
‘The last three Premier League champions – Chelsea with Mourinho, Leicester with Ranieri, Chelsea with Conte – which of these teams was the most offensive one?’
‘Which played more quality football? It was mine. But nobody says.’
Chelsea 2014-15 | Points: 87 | Goals for: 73 | Goals against: 32
Leicester City 15-16 | Points: 81 | Goals for: 68 | Goals against: 36
Chelsea 16-17 | Points: 93 | Goals for: 85 | Goals against: 33
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is reportedly ready to delay Eden Hazard’s return to first-team action despite the winger playing for the Belgian national team during this international break.
The 26-year-old is yet to feature for Chelsea so far this season, with Conte recently explaining that he was surprised to see Roberto Martinez call him up for international duty following a lengthy injury picked up earlier in the summer.
‘I don’t think he can play,’ the Blues boss said last week. ‘If Hazard is ready, why doesn’t he play with us? Why is he playing with the Under 23s to continue to try to improve his form?
‘I’m a bit surprised. I was a coach in the national team with Italy, but I respect the decision of the other coach. I see Hazard every day and I repeat: it’s important to give the right time to players to recover. Hazard is important for us. If someone thinks to accelerate the process… I think it’s not the right way. It’s a great mistake.’
Conte appears ready to stand by his belief that Hazard is not ready to play by leaving him out of this weekend’s game against Leicester City, with a place on the bench the best the Belgian can hope for, according to the London Evening Standard.
Chelsea don’t look to have missed Hazard’s influence too much so far this season, with Alvaro Morata starting in prolific form and players chipping in from all areas.
Still, Blues fans may be concerned that this is yet another example of conflict at Stamford Bridge, with Hazard clearly going against his manager’s wishes by playing for his country.
Leicester City (A) – Sat 9 Sep
FK Qarabag – Champions League (H) – Tue 12 Sep
Arsenal (H) – Sun 17 Sep
Nottingham Forest – League Cup (H) – Tue 19 Sep
Stoke City (A) – Sat 23 Sep
Atletico Madrid – Champions League (A) – Wed 27 Sep
Man City (H) – Sat 30 Sep
Crystal Palace (A) – Sat 14 Oct
Roma – Champions League (H) – Wed 18 Oct
Watford (H) – Mon 23 Oct
More Breaking News:
Leicester City v Chelsea – Match Officials
The Premier League returns, this weekend, after the international break.
Chelsea face a difficult, but not impossible, looking trip to take on Leicester City.
After two wins on the bounce, Antonio Conte will be looking for his side to make it three and edge closer to the top of the table.
Ahead of the game we now have the names of the match officials for you:
Referee – Lee Mason
Assistant Referee – Harry Lennard
Assistant Referee – Matthew Wilkes
Fourth Official – Roger East
With regards to Lee Mason, in the three games he has taken charge of this season, he has handed out 5 yellow cards and 1 red card.
Last season Mason took charge of the following games involving Chelsea:
• Premier League – 25 April – Chelsea 4 Southampton 2
• Premier League – 15 May – Chelsea 4 Watford 3
As you can see, Chelsea won both games and scored four goals on each occasion, let`s hope that record can be kept up.