José Mourinho feels ‘contempt’ for Antonio Conte after exchange of insults

• Manchester United manager draws line under clash with Chelsea counterpart
• Mourinho hopes Ibrahimovic can return to fitness in three weeks after relapse

José Mourinho has claimed he now feels “contempt” for Antonio Conte, with Manchester United’s manager intent on finally drawing a line under the insults he and his Chelsea counterpart have been trading.

Last week Conte accused the Portuguese of having “demenza senile” after believing Mourinho had referenced him when discussing a “clown on the touchline”.

While Mourinho denied he meant Conte, the 54-year-old then spoke of the Italian’s four-month ban for failing to report alleged match-fixing, which prompted the Italian to brand Mourinho a “little man”.

Asked about all of this, United’s manager said: “I think when a person insults another, you can expect a response. Or you can expect contempt, silence. The first time he insulted me I had a response, a response that I know that touched the point where he really feels hurt. Then he insulted me for a second time, but now I change and now [I feel] contempt and for me, contempt means: end of the story.”

Mourinho is hopeful that Zlatan Ibrahimovic can return to fitness in around three weeks following a relapse in his recovery from a serious knee problem.

“Zlatan is injured or is not totally happy with his condition,” said the 54-year-old. “He fought like a tiger, like he likes to say, to be back. He was started having minutes here and there and had a start and had 60 minutes in one game, started another one and had 45 minutes and he was not happy with his feelings.

“He consulted other doctors, other opinions and we all make the decision to stop, let him have treatment and, when he’s feeling really good, come back to work. The date for him to be back to training with the team was around end of January beginning of February. So let’s hope his feelings are better and we have him with us as soon as possible.”

Mourinho added that he will decide at the end of the window if Axel Tuanzebe should go on loan. “If we feel Eric Bailly is close to being back, then probably will be good for Axel to go on a loan and be back next season.”