10 of the best manager put-downs: Mourinho, Conte, Pulis, Pardew…

Quick Reads

Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte will both be desperate to get one over the other when Manchester United host Chelsea on Sunday – but this certainly isn’t the first feud between managers.

Mourinho and Conte first had words after Chelsea’s 4-0 win over United in October 2016 after which the Portuguese is believed to have told the Blues boss his celebrations were “humiliating”.

After several thinly-veiled barbs from both managers in the press, the feud stepped up a notch in October 2017 when Mourinho said he would not “cry” about injuries after Conte had spoken about his problems at Chelsea.

A few months later Mourinho said he did not need to act like a “clown” on the touchline to prove his passion. Although he did not name Conte directly, the Italian took the bait and accused his counterpart of having senile dementia, though a club spokesman later clarified he had meant amnesia.

In January, Mourinho said he would never be suspended for match-fixing, as Conte was in Italy, and the following day the Chelsea manager responded: “I consider him a little man and I consider him a man with a very low profile.”

He added: “When is the game against United? We can meet in a room. To try and explain about these comments. I don’t know if he is ready to meet me in a room, just me and him.”

On Sunday, the two managers will get that chance.

Speaking about the rivalry in a short Ball Street documentary (above), broadcaster Mina Rzouki suggests the two managers are more alike than they may care to admit.

“One of the reasons they hate each other is because they’re exactly the same person,” she says. “They’re driven by ego, which is why they’re so successful.”

Whoever comes out on top at Old Trafford is sure to have something to say about their adversary after the game – and here are some of the best put-downs from managers they can take inspiration from.

Sam Allardyce vs Marco Silva

Everton wanted Marco Silva as their new manager after sacking Ronald Koeman nine games into the season, but Watford refused to release the Portuguese, forcing the Toffees to look elsewhere.

They eventually appointed Allardyce instead, but the former England coach bristled at suggestions he was second choice.

“His track record has got no comparison whatsoever with mine,” Allardyce said. “He got Hull City relegated [last season].”

Silva, sacked by Watford just three months later, responded in briilliant fashion: “I read what he said, but when he made this comparison it does not make sense. It is the same thing if I compare his work with a national-team coach like Gareth Southgate.

“It’s like me comparing the five goals Richarlison has scored in the Premier League with Peter Crouch [who has scored 207 goals in his club career]. Crouch is nearly 37, Richarlison is 20 – Crouch has played so many games [669] and Richarlison far less.

“Go and see what he [Allardyce] was doing when he was 40 years old, or see what he was doing in his first seven seasons as a coach. Then look at what I am doing at the same age – or you can wait until I am 63 years old, and then we can compare what I have done.”

Arsene Wenger vs Sir Alex Ferguson

The great rivalry of the first half of the Premier League, Ferguson and Wenger had plenty of set-tos down the years as Arsenal threatened Manchester United’s dominance of the division.

There was always an undercurrent of respect between the two bosses, but maybe not when Wenger claimed: “He [Ferguson] doesn’t interest me and doesn’t matter to me at all.”

Not bovvered, mate. Honest.

Tony Pulis vs Arsene Wenger

Wenger has rubbed a few managers up the wrong way, or perhaps has allowed himself to be rubbed up the wrong way.

Arsenal and Stoke certainly shared a mutual dislike of each other while Pulis was in charge of the Potters, leading to this zinger from the Welshman: “I’ve got nothing against foreign managers. Apart from Arsene Wenger.”

Alan Pardew vs Manuel Pellegrini

In terms of insults, “you f*cking old c*nt” does pretty much what it says on the tin. A very alright-Alan-we’ve-all-had-a-few jibe.

Jose Mourinho vs Arsene Wenger

Mourinho’s about to feature heavily in this list now, starting with one of his numerous barbs on Wenger:

“I think he is one of these people who is a voyeur. He likes to watch other people. There are some guys who, when they are at home, have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. He speaks, speaks, speaks about Chelsea.”

Arsene, of course, had his own say: “He’s out of order, disconnected with reality and disrespectful. When you give success to stupid people, it makes them more stupid sometimes and not more intelligent.”

Jose Mourinho vs Pep Guardiola

Mourinho’s spell in Spain as Real Madrid was characterised by fall-outs with anyone and everyone, including his own players.

His rivalry with Guardiola became increasingly heated, and they traded a couple of beauties.

Jose: “Guardiola is a fantastic coach, but I have won two Champions Leagues. He has won [only] one Champions League and that is one that would embarrass me. I would be ashamed to have won it with the scandal of Stamford Bridge and if he wins it this year it will be with the scandal of the Bernabeu.

“I hope one day Guardiola has the chance of winning a proper Champions League, a brilliant, clean championship with no scandal.”

Pep Guardiola vs Jose Mourinho

Guardiola for his part tended to avoid the mind games, but Mourinho did manage to get a reaction from the Catalan when he called him “Mr Pep”.

As comebacks go, this was pretty damn good: “As Mr Jose took the option to refer to me, somebody he once worked alongside and had a friendship with as Mr Pep before accusing me of things that are ultimately rubbish, I’ll too refer to him by his first name.

“Which one is Mr Jose’s camera? In this room, I cannot and will not compete with him. He has created his own competition in the press-room and he wins everything here. He is the f**king boss in here, nobody comes close to his level so he can have his own Champions League trophy for winning press conferences.

“However, tomorrow evening at 8:45 my team will go out to the pitch and compete against his players. Football is the only competition that I care for.”

Jose Mourinho vs Claudio Ranieri

We thought it was impossible to have a bad word to say about Ranieri, but Mourinho found a way while in charge of Inter Milan.

“Ranieri? I guess he’s right with what he said. I am very demanding of myself and I have to win to be sure of things. This is why I have won so many trophies in my career. Ranieri on the other hand has the mentality of someone who doesn’t need to win.

“He is almost 70 years old. He has won a Super Cup and another small trophy and he is too old to change his mentality. He’s old and he hasn’t won anything. I studied Italian five hours a day for many months to ensure I could communicate with the players, media and fans.

“Ranieri had been in England for five years and still struggled to say ‘good morning’ and ‘good afternoon.'”

Lovely, lovely Claudio can now at least say he has won a league title more recently than Mourinho – and with Leicester City.

Kevin Keegan vs Sir Alex Ferguson

OK, so this was not so much a put-down as a full-blown meltdown. But we couldn’t not include it, so here’s a bonus in the list.

The ultimate. Absolute head’s-gone brilliance from King Kev.

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