Expect plenty of intrigue on Saturday when Tottenham Hotspur and AS Roma meet in a preseason friendly on Paramount+. After all, Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son will be clashing against Tammy Abraham and Paulo Dybala. And while the star players might garner much of the attention, all eyes should be on the touchline. Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho have a long history of competing against each other and managing similar clubs. Both managers have won league titles with Chelsea and Inter Milan and have a long history of competing for the highest honors.
Tensions were high during Mourinho’s spell at Manchester United with the managers exchanging barbs in press conferences over spending, player treatment and even jabs over apparent hair transplants, which led to one of the best managerial rivalries in soccer. Those days might be behind us, but it’s notable to remember that because of Nuno Espirito Santo’s fourth-month, short stint at Tottenham, Conte basically took over Mourinho’s old team. Mourinho, meanwhile, in his first season in charge of the Serie A club. So what else has changed between the two?
First Super League manager to get sacked
To set the stage, we have to rewind to the Super League discussion in April of 2021. Spurs were in the middle of a disappointing season despite Mourinho leading them to the EFL Cup final against Manchester City with a chance to secure the team’s first trophy since 2008.
For a manager that has a great track record in cup finals, it seemed logical see what kind of magic Mourinho could muster up against a powerhouse City team. After all, there wouldn’t be any logical external options available in April. But only six days before that final, Mourinho became the first manager to be sacked during the short-lived Super League “era,” ending a 17-month stint with the club.