FESTERING FEUD: Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, left, and his Chelsea counterpart Antonio Conte during last year's Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, which Chelsea won 1-0 through an Alvaro Morata goal. Photo: EPA

MANCHESTER Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte renew hostilities when Chelsea visit Manchester United in a mouthwatering Premier League clash on Sunday spiced up by bad blood between the two managers.

Former Chelsea boss Mourinho and Conte have not hidden their disdain for each other in a series of clashes in the press and on the touchline since Conte arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2016.

And there is plenty more than personal pride at stake, with both clubs locked in a battle for a top-four place in the Premier League.

AFP Sports looks at the best of Mourinho and Conte's war of words.

Humiliating homecoming

Mourinho returned to Stamford Bridge for the first time in October 2016 after his second spell in charge of Chelsea ended in his sacking 10 months earlier.

The Portuguese was given a mixed reception by the Chelsea fans in the stands but shown no mercy on the pitch as Conte's men dished out a 4-0 thrashing of United.

Mourinho was unhappy with Conte's wild celebration of N'Golo Kante's fourth goal.

"You don't celebrate like that at 4-0, you can do it at 1-0, otherwise it's humiliating for us," Italian TV reported Mourinho as saying when he confronted Conte at full-time.

Avoid the 'Mourinho season'
On Chelsea's pre-season tour of Asia, Conte cited Chelsea's collapse in Mourinho's final season in charge just months after being crowned champions as a warning to his squad.

"Two years ago, the team finished 10th place in the league and we want to avoid this," said Conte.

"I want to avoid, and the players want to avoid, the last season with Mourinho."

Chelsea were 16th when Mourinho was sacked in December 2015, having lost nine of their first 16 Premier League games.

No clowning around
The spat between the two managers accelerated in January when Mourinho, who made his name in England sprinting down the touchline at Old Trafford to celebrate a late goal as Porto coach in 2004, claimed he was still as passionate without acting like "a clown".

"I prefer to behave the way I am doing it, much more mature, better for my team and myself," he said. "I don't think you have to behave like a crazy guy on the touchline to have that passion."

The remark was read as a jibe not only at Conte, but at Mourinho's other rival managers at Liverpool and Manchester City, Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola.

Conte responded by suggesting Mourinho had "senile dementia" and had forgotten his behaviour as a younger manager.

Mourinho took the feud to new heights days later by appearing to allude to a suspension Conte served in relation to match-fixing in Italy. 

The Italian was later cleared of any wrongdoing on that issue.

"What has never happened to me and will never happen is to be suspended for match-fixing," the United manager said. "That never happened to me and it will never happen."

The surprising reference in a press conference to "match-fixing" drew a follow-up question as to whether it was directly aimed at Conte.

But when mention was made of the accusations against Conte, Mourinho obfuscated, saying: "Did he? Not me."

'Little man' Mourinho
Conte's response was to label Mourinho a "little man" and "fake" by also delving into the Portuguese's past.

Mourinho wore a shirt showing his support for Claudio Ranieri following his sacking less than a year after leading Leicester City to a stunning title triumph in 2016.

However, Mourinho had previously labelled Ranieri "a loser" and made disparaging comments over his level of English.

"In the past he was a little man in many circumstances, he's a little man in the present and for sure he will be a little man in the future," said Conte.

"I remember with Ranieri when he offended him for his English. And then when Ranieri was sacked he put on a shirt for Ranieri. You are fake, you are fake."

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