Exclusive: Alessio reveals why Conte and Mourinho clashed

by | May 5, 2021 15:35

Antonio Conte's former assistant Angelo Alessio opens up about the Inter coach's argument with José Mourinho at Chelsea: ‘It was just a misunderstanding,’ he says in an exclusive interview with Football Italia.

Antonio Conte's former assistant Angelo Alessio opens up about the Inter coach's argument with José Mourinho at Chelsea: ‘It was just a misunderstanding,’ he says in an exclusive interview with Football Italia.

Alessio had been Conte’s assistant coach for almost a decade. He joined his staff in 2010, after Conte was sacked by Atalanta. Alessio followed the former midfielder at Siena, Juventus, Italy national team and Chelsea before they parted company two years ago. Alessio is impressed by what Conte has achieved with the Nerazzurri, but says there are more challenges on the horizon.

“Everyone has taken his own path, but in football, never say never, maybe we can work again together in the future,” Alessio said in an exclusive interview with Football Italia.

“Inter have improved so much since he arrived. Everyone has made a step forward. He won the title, but now he will need to go the extra mile and achieve something more in Europe,” he continued.

“Antonio has begun a new chapter with Inter, but don’t forget he has great players, the club have made some top signings, and Conte has been able to inculcate his ideas and his mentality.”

Conte was appointed Chelsea coach in 2016 and won two trophies in his two-year spell at Stamford Bridge.

“It was extraordinary, we won the Premier League title in our first season at the club, and then we won the FA Cup, the most important titles in England. It’s so difficult to win the Premier League and that achievement crowned Conte as one of the most successful coaches in Europe,” Alessio said.

While in England, the Italian tactician was involved in several controversies with José Mourinho who, at that time, was the Manchester United coach.

In January 2018, Conte called the Special One “little man,”but their relationship seems to have been fixed now. Conte has reacted to Mourinho’s appointment as Roma coach with surprise but said they would hug each otherwhen they meet again next season. Alessio believes Conte and Mourinho are alike, and that the row started over a trivial matter.

“They are a bit similar. They have strong characters and maybe that can be one of the reasons why they clashed,” Alessio commented.

“I remember we beat Manchester United in 2018 and Mourinho was upset due to Antonio’s celebration. They continued to taunt each other for some time after that.

“Sometimes things get blown out of proportion. There were not pleasant words between them, but it all began with a misunderstanding.

“That time, Mourinho was annoyed with Conte’s celebration, but that’s what Antonio always does. Everyone knows that, it was a regular celebration for him.

“They are smart people, so in the end, they cleared the air. Now they respect each other and I am sure we’ll see that when they meet next season.”

While the Italian tactician seems to have solved his problems with the Mourinho, his relationship with Juventus Chairman Andrea Agnelli remains tense. Conte suddenly stepped down as Juventus coach one day into pre-season in 2014 and since then, has never been able to make peace with his former President.

Unpleasant scenes erupted when Inter travelled to Juventus for a Coppa Italia tie this past February as Conte and Agnelli insulted each otherat the half-time break.

The Juventus’ No. 1 vetoed Conte’s Juventus return in the past, but his position is now uncertain after the Super League fiasco. Therefore, could Conte return to his former club if Agnelli leaves?

“Right now, I don’t think so,” said Alessio. “It’s difficult to predict right now. It seems unrealistic, but never say never in football.”

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