Antonio Conte has branded Jose Mourinho a “little man” and a “fake”.
The Chelsea manager slammed Manchester United rival Mourinho in the latest bitter war of words.
Conte angered Mourinho by claiming he had “dementia” — and the Special One hit back by bringing up the Italian’s failure to report match-fixing at former club Siena.
After Chelsea’s third-round 0-0 draw at Norwich, Conte said: “When the target is to offend and insult, I think you are a little, little man.
“But I think we all know him very well and his past.
“It’s always the same. He was a little man in the past, a little man in the present and a little man in the future. You know him very well.
“The level is very low. This is not my problem. I consider him a man with a very low profile.
“I think before you make these comments you must know the truth, because the truth was that I was banned for four months for failing to report.
“Then I asked for a real trial by court and I was declared innocent. A little man doesn’t know the situation.
“It is not a surprise for me. I repeat, when you insult or offend another person it means that you are a little man. I think he’s a little man.”
Conte also branded Mourinho a fake for wearing a tracksuit with the initials CR on it after Claudio Ranieri was sacked by Leicester last season.
He added: “I remember he offended Ranieri over his English.
“And then when Ranieri was sacked he put a shirt on for Ranieri. You are a fake. A fake . . .”
Chelsea face United at Old Trafford on February 25 and Conte claims he is ready to thrash it out man to man.
He said: “The situation is very clear. I don’t have anything to clarify.
“Life will go on and I’m not worried about him.
“It’s a good opportunity when we play Manchester United to clarify with him if there is anything. To meet face-to-face.
“I’m ready, I don’t know if he is ready.
“I don’t like to speak about the other coaches. But when you say something you have to take the responsibilities of this.”
Mourinho certainly went for the jugular after United’s 2-0 defeat of Derby on Friday night.
He took exception to a response from Conte as the spat got uglier and uglier.
The Italian believed Mourinho’s comments that he did not “act like a clown” on the touchline were directly aimed at him.
Conte countered by declaring: “I think he has to see himself in the past, maybe he was speaking about himself in the past, yeah?
“It is like ‘senile demenza’ when you cannot remember things.”
Mourinho hit back: “The only thing I have to say to end the story is that, yes, I have made mistakes in the past on the touchline.
“And, yes, I will make less in future. But I will still make a few.
“But what never happened to me — and will never happen — is to be suspended for match fixing.”
He was referring to when Conte was manager of Siena in Serie A in the 2010-11 season and was accused of failing to report match-fixing by a former Siena player.
The Italian coach given a ten-month ban while at Juventus in 2012-13 — a punishment later reduced to four months — was eventually acquitted of the charges in 2016.
But Conte has never quite lived down the stigma.
And Mourinho’s jibe only served to prove that when managers go to war there are no-holds barred.
However, the Portuguese coach will face no action from the FA following his blast. While Conte, too, is also in the clear over his ‘dementia’ comments.