Mourinho hatchet buried as Conte seeks to save Chelsea’s season

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte insisted the bad blood between he and Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is a thing of the past as they prepare to square off in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

Conte and Mourinho’s feud had bubbled since the Italian’s arrival at Mourinho’s former club just under two years ago and exploded in a series of jibes last December.

However, the two reconciled after United’s 2-1 win over Chelsea and February, and Conte claimed their relationship shouldn’t overshadow events on the pitch at Wembley.

“What is important is that there is an ordinary relationship between him and me,” Conte said on Friday. “I will shake his hand tomorrow, for sure. And then we will think about the game.”

Many believe Saturday’s showpiece will be Conte’s final game in charge of Chelsea after a fifth-placed finish in the Premier League saw last season’s champions fail to even qualify for the Champions League.

“I can tell you for sure this will be my last match in this season,” said Conte with a wry smile.

However, Conte fiercely defended his record this season, claiming to have “worked harder” throughout the campaign than in lifting the title last season.

Even if it should be his farewell, Conte is determined to leave on a high by winning a domestic cup competition for the first time in his managerial career.

“We’ve had a difficult season, but we can finish that season with a trophy. It’s always important for the players, the coach, the manager, our fans and the club, to finish the season with a trophy.

“I think now we are focused on this target. We have to try to do everything to win the game tomorrow.”
Conte at least has an almost fully-fit squad to choose from with only Ederson Palmieri missing out.

And Conte hinted that first-choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois could start in goal despite Willy Caballero having played in all six of Chelsea’s cup games in their run to the final.