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How Jose Mourinho piled more miseries on Antonio Conte in Old Trafford victory.

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Much of the talk before the Manchester United vs Chelsea match at Old Trafford had been about Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte and their feud off the pitch.

There had been little love lost between both sets of managers with words and insults being flung across from both sides of the aisle and press conferences having been turned into points scoring and the mind games really winding up.

Yesterday could be the last time that the two teams meet this season, FA Cup and Champions League depending, while if rumours of a Conte exit are to become true it could be the last time they meet as Manchester United and Chelsea boss.

And while the focus could have been on the pitch with all the superb players on show, no doubt one eye was on what was happening on the touchline as well

Team selection
Antonio Conte stuck with the 3-4-3 formation instead of going with three in midfield, however it had a slightly more defensive feel to it.

Instead of Cesc Fabregas in midfield playing his second game in a week, Conte went for Danny Drinkwater next to N’Golo Kante.

Meanwhile, Alvaro Morata was selected to lead the line for the Blues, with Pedro dropping to the bench.

For United, the big decision from Mourinho was to start Paul Pogba once again, having been dropped to the bench over recent weeks.

He started in a midfield with Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic, of course facing up against his former side.

It was a 4-3-3 for the United manager, with Alexis Sanchez on the right and Anthony Martial on the left.

A lot has been made of the back and forth between the two managers and the comments that have been made.

That obviously put a lot of emphasis on the handshake pre-match, if indeed there would be one at all.

The two managers came out just a few metres apart from one another as Mourinho led them out. However, the Manchester United boss did seem to head to the dugout as Conte waited for him. The former Blues boss did emerge a few moments later and the pair did indeed shake hands.

Demeanour on the sideline

Against Barcelona, Conte was at his ferocious best on the sidelines, dancing up and down on the sidelines, orchestrating proceedings and making sure that none of his players took their foot off the gas.

The same was in the first half at Old Trafford, where the Italian never stepped away from the technical area and really got pumped up throughout the first 45 minutes.

But as the game wore on and his players’ energy levels dropped, the same could be said for Conte. That realisation that he couldn’t influence the game dawned on him.

Meanwhile, on the other side Mourinho also stayed on the edge of the technical area, but was much of a different demeanour. Hands in pockets for much in the game, he only seemed riled by the odd refereeing decision and then telling his players exactly where he wanted them to be.

Between the two, there was little on the pitch to really spark anything off it and both managers pretty kept themselves to themselves.

 

Tactics

It was a tactic that Mourinho has used several times with Phil Jones and Ander Herrera, but this time it was up to youngster Scott McTominay to man mark and keep an eye on Eden Hazard.

This didn’t work that well as the United midfielder completely left Hazard and then didn’t track back Willian to net the opener.

Meanwhile, Alexis Sanchez was asked to play in a more central role behind Romelu Lukaku, instead of out on the wing, and the Chilean was pretty ineffective throughout the contest.

Conte on the other hand was trying to recreate the Barcelona magic with his 3-4-3, with Willian and this time Hazard sitting back when the Blues were without the ball, and then breaking forward.

However, the ball did not really stick to Alvaro Morata and at times the moves broke down.

As the game wore on, United spread wider and caused more issues, something that Chelsea were unable to deal with at times.

Subs
This is certainly where Mourinho got the edge, as he made the key decision to replace Jesse Lingard for Anthony Martial.

He also brought on Eric Bailly late in the game when Conte brought on Olivier Giroud.

Conte, on the other hand, made the odd decision to take off star man Eden Hazard, despite the Belgian not being injured. Pedro came on, however Willian seemed to be fading in the match and it seemed like a strange move.

Meanwhile, Alvaro Morata played the whole match, with Giroud coming on late on and also Cesc Fabregas only getting ten minutes.

It wasn’t the Italian’s best afternoon for making decisions coming off the bench.

Post match

With the match antics between the two being pretty calm on the sidelines that was expected to carry on after the game as well, with a handshake and a pat on the back of the head from Mourinho to Conte.

Conte: “No I repeat. You wanted to see the handshake and we did this. Now I stop.”

Mourinho: “The handshake doesn’t need any words. I think that is what me and Antonio want to show to everyone. The handshake before and after I think is an example that everything in football you have to move and respect each other.

“Mourinho and Conte they are not two ordinary persons in football. We have a history, we have an image.”