Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has insisted that his players are ready for the ‘mental aspect’ of tomorrow’s clash against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Conte described the upcoming United game as a ‘tactical, physical and mental’ challenge and admitted that touchline exchanges between him and Jose Mourinho are also a possibility due to the competitive nature of the game.
The two managers have traded blows before, with Mourinho accusing Conte of trying to humiliate him in October when the Italian passionately celebrated Chelsea’s fourth goal in a 4-0 victory at Stamford Bridge.
“It’s very simple.” Conte told reporters ahead of Sunday’s game. “The sporting conflict is the game and the two teams are in a sporting conflict during the game.
“It is not a friendly game, it is a game that another team wants the three points and for this reason you fight with all your possibility to try to win.
“I don’t like the conflict [on the touchline], I prefer to be concentrated and focused on my team but sometimes it can happen and it is normal for me and for the other coach to have sometimes this type of situation.
“But if you ask me if I like or don’t like it, I prefer to be focused on the game; to understand the game and to find the right solution if my team is in difficulty.”
United are currently sixth and on a 21-game undefeated run in the Premier League – their last defeat came exactly against Chelsea in October.
Conte added: “I think that Man United also has the possibility to arrive in the first four places and I am sure the United players want to fight to arrive in this position.
“It is not right to be concentrated only on one target if you have the possibility of two targets [EPL and Europa League] to reach the Champions League.”