Antonio Conte’s subtle criticism of Jose Mourinho adds further spice ahead of Chelsea return

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has revealed that he’s still picking up the pieces left behind by Jose Mourinho after his failed season last year.

The Portuguese tactician returns to Stamford Bridge for the first time since the end of his second spell in charge at the club on Sunday, as he now looks to lead Manchester United to success.

Nevertheless, having been sacked by Chelsea last December after a poor start to the defence of their Premier League title, he certainly left with the club in a difficult spot.

Conte believes that he’s still dealing with the effects of that disastrous period for the Blues, with the mental aspect of it still a significant issue as he continues to battle to restore confidence and belief in the players that they can become a force in the English top flight again.

His argument is backed up by the displays they produced against Liverpool and Arsenal which showed that they hadn’t quite recovered fully from previous disappointments and a fragility in their make-up, and although they seem to be back on the right track, Conte has shared his feelings on the matter.

“When there are these types of very bad seasons – because we finished 10th in the table – it’s normal that something remains in the players. In their minds. In their heads,” he said, as noted by The Mirror.

“In this situation, the risk is to lose confidence. Also, it’s very difficult because you must change what happened last season, and that’s not easy.

“The only way we have to change is to work very hard together with the players, the club and the fans. I repeat: it won’t be easy to cancel a bad season like last season.”

The Italian tactician went on to add that he expects the Chelsea faithful to give Mourinho a positive reception when he steps out at Stamford Bridge, but as with any opponent, he will become the “enemy” during the game from a sporting aspect.

However, there was seemingly another swipe when the former Juventus boss insisted that he would never send his players out with any other intention but to win a game, with Mourinho drawing criticism following his side’s goalless draw with Liverpool on Monday night, with many insisting that he went to Anfield with the intention of keeping it tight at the back and picking up a point.

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