José Mourinho’s dig at Antonio Conte has diverted attention from the FA Cup final’s pivotal confrontation in which Chelsea’s midfield could be overrun by Manchester United
“I’m not,” José Mourinho said after Manchester United’s home win over Liverpool in March, “the kind of mechanic coach that says player A pass to player B, player B pass to player C and player C to player D. I’m much more a supporter of preparing the players to decide well and feel the game.”
As so often with Mourinho, there was perhaps a coded jibe; this may have been (it’s very hard to know for sure with a man whose every utterance is subjected to intense scrutiny) another sortie in his protracted war of words with Antonio Conte. For the Italian is a manager who has his side practise “automations”, as Eden Hazard calls them. Conte does see the value in practising set moves, to be deployed during games when the disposition of players on the pitch is right.