Comparisons between Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho are bound to happen, especially if Chelsea end up winning the Premier League just like in Mourinho's debut season. For Conte himself, there’s nothing but great respect for the coach who helped turn Chelsea into one of the biggest clubs in world football.
"For sure, he is one of the best in the world. I think that José Mourinho wrote a good part of the history of Chelsea. He won a lot with the players and he did a great job here. It is important not to forget this and I have great respect for him because he is a winner and I like his winning mentality."
"His history with Chelsea is great and I know very well he is in the hearts of the Chelsea fans and this is great because he deserves this. For sure, I hope in the future to try to emulate his wins here."
Conte and Mourinho are set for their second clash tonight, as Chelsea host Manchester United at home in the FA Cup quarterfinals. Although United will not have some of their key players available, the Chelsea boss does not see a reason to rest any of his main players ahead for such an important game against one of the Premier League's best squads.
"The FA Cup is a great competition and for this reason I want to try to make the best decision for the game against United. We didn’t play in the week, our last game was Monday, and then we play again on Saturday. I don’t see the necessity to rest players and also, because United will do the same against us."
"This game is important for us and for them. I think their formation will be very good because I think that United, along with City, have the best squad in this league – with the number of players in the squad and the quality also."
"Also because they have had four days to recover [from their Europa League trip to Rostov]. We could have played this game on Sunday or Saturday, but we are playing on Monday and I think the FA have shown great respect for Manchester United to play the last day we are able to play this game."
With Chelsea enjoying a ten-point lead in the Premier League and still in contention for the FA Cup, talks of a double-winning season for the Blues have picked up steam recently. Conte remains unfazed by the blabber, keeping cool, calm, and collected as he has been since day one, through the bad and the good.
"For me, it is not important to think about winning the Double. It is important for me and the players to play game by game, to see what we reach at the end of the season."
"Now, this game is the most important game, because you either go through or you stop your run in the FA Cup. For this reason, it is the most important game for us in this moment. Then, after tonight, our most important game will be against Stoke. We have to build our way to try to arrive at the end of the season to celebrate something. But the way is very long."
-Antonio Conte; Source: Chelsea FC
As always, it is not over until it is over. There are still two months of football ahead for us to play and, hopefully, celebrate at the end. Until then, it’s about working hard, paying attention, and overcoming every challenge in our path.