Conte: i have so much respect for Jose mourinho

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte heaps praise on Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho ahead of his return to Stamford Bridge

Antonio Conte has praised predecessor Jose Mourinho’s impact at Chelsea ahead of the self-proclaimed Special One’s return with Manchester United.

Mourinho won his third Premier League title with Chelsea in May 2015 before his second spell came to an end seven months later, with the Blues perilously close to the relegation zone.

And Conte anticipates a warm reception from the Stamford Bridge faithful for their former boss.

“I have great respect for him,” said the Chelsea head coach, who was announced as Mourinho’s permanent successor in April.

“He won three championships and I think he was an important man for the club.

“I think he deserves a good reception, because he wrote with the club, with his players, and with the staff, part of the story of this club.”

After being out of football since December, the Portuguese coach was appointed as manager of the Red Devils in May and faces Chelsea for the first time as manager of another English club.

But Conte hopes that the Blues’ supporters don’t get swept up in the occasion, despite his success.

“When you win three championships, you remain in the heart of the fans. It’s normal,” he added.

“After the whistle, he becomes like the other players of Manchester United an enemy, in the sporting aspect.”

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