Conte strikes back!
Just days ago, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini hit out at Liverpool and their skipper, stating that he expects Liverpool "To crumble." We expected the next person to reply to these comments would be Rodgers, or at least someone directly linked with the reds. However, Pellegrini also said that "Juventus are a small club" although, no one, expected Juve head coach Conte to make the next comment, which he has done.
Juventus are set to play Liverpool again in this next month, they will be looking to take home 3 points if they really want to have a chance in qualifying for the next round, and in the pre-match press conference bot managers, especially Conte gave their view on Pellegrini's 'outrageous' opinion.
Conte: "This is absolutely outrageous. He has no right to comment my team. To be honest, I wouldn't care if his opinion was a little less...deluded, but this is horrible, he shouldn't be making these comments, he is a professional and should set a fair example to his fans and players. It's all well and good playing these mind games with the Premier League leaders, I have no problem with that because that is what happens in football, he wants to win the league and he is willing to tip Liverpool of the wagon, mentally. But, you don't make the sort of comments he made about a team you won't be playing in at least the next year, especially when they play in a different country."
Juventus are top of the Serie A, just two points off second place Napoli. So it is clear to see why Conte is so aggravated by the situation, considering Juve are supposedly "A small team."
Conte was also asked on his opinion of Rodgers and Liverpool, he had some very kind words to say about his next opponent, here is what he had to say:
Conte: "Well, actually, my opinion on Rodgers is a good one. The last game we played against them, they won. Maybe they were a little lucky after the two own goals but I felt the win was deserved. After the game, we spoke to one another like friends, and we went out for a meal with some of the lads. We got on, we bantered about...Rodgers is a good friend. As for his team Liverpool, I think they are one fantastic side, he has gotten them playing so well...and I really wouldn't be surprised if they did win the league."
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was also asked about Pellegrini's comments, and he didn't seem best pleased, however he was very appreciative of his opposing number, Conte.
Rodgers: "Like Conte said, it is ok for Manuel to play these mind games with us, but it is completely disrespectful to Juventus, to say such things about them. He has no link with them at all, I don't see why he needed to pick on them? He clearly has no knowledge of football, as Juve are one of the most historic clubs in football, and that's why they have a better reputation than City. If any club in this situation is small, it is City. They are only reputable because of their takeover 3-4 years ago. They are a bit like Chelsea in that aspect, they only turned up to the part in the last decade or so, and because of money."
Rodgers: "Anyway...enough of that. I want to say thank you to Conte for sticking up for my team, and as he says, we are very good friends, the man is a fantastic manager and a footballing legend. I also want to wish luck to him this season, they are making a real go of the title, as are we. We will win the Premier league come May, I just want to end with that. So we'll see who ends up where at the end of the season Manuel."
Liverpool, just like Juventus are also top of their league, although this time, five points off of second placed Chelsea, flying high this season, it is no wonder people are starting to speculate on Liverpool being a certainty to take home the Premier League.
We expect to hear more from Pellegrini, but also Rodgers and Conte. It is also expected that other managers could join the fray, in the coming days...but who? Stay tuned.