Chelsea Managers: The Gloves Are Off!

How could anyone forget Claudio Ranieri, the man who, in Roman’s first season, took us to the semi-finals of the Champions League and second place in the Premier League, only to be rewarded with the sack?

Well, the Tinkerman seems to be toying around again, only this time, it’s with his successor. The former Chelsea manager had already got a dig in over Lampard last week, suggesting Roman would have been more benevolent if it had been him asking to sign the wantaway midfielder, stating “If I’d have asked, he would have given him to me, but not to Mourinho. I’ll let you figure out why.”

However, the lack of a response from the man who replaced him at Stamford Bridge seems only to have increased his determination to prod a little harder. And in a press conference following Juve’s 3-0 defeat to Hamburg, Ranieri took the opportunity to add a little more fuel to the fire to see if he could get a proper blaze out of it. Making no attempt to hide his distaste for the Inter manager, Ranieri stated “unlike Mourinho I don’t need to win to be sure about what I am doing. I can take defeat because last year we lost a few and we always managed to react.”

This time, the Juventus boss scored a direct hit as Mourinho, despite suggesting he had no intention of taking part in a war of words, hit back “Ranieri? I guess he’s right with what he said I am very demanding of myself and I have to win to be sure of things. This is why I have won so many trophies in my career. Ranieri on the other hand has the mentality of someone who doesn’t need to win.” Finally, Mourinho’s parting words on the subject of his Juve counterpart – which will inevitably see him dispatched from Age Concern’s Christmas card list, was to suggest, “He is almost 70 years old. He has won a Supercup and another small trophy and he is too old to change his mentality. He’s old and he hasn’t won anything.”

Strange to think they’ve never actually competed directly against each other as far as football is concerned, unless you count the Chelsea manager’s job of course and even then, it was hardly a fair fight with most of the competition taking part behind Ranieri’s back. Although having said that, the fact that Ranieri was the one who received applause from the away support at both Highbury and Old Trafford and a lap and guard of honour with the players at Stamford Bridge to mark his departure, whilst TSO’s exit came and went as his players were attending a bash in his absence, and the opposition were laughing rather than crying, is bound to grate Mourinho’s ego a little.

Add to that the speculation amongst some Chelsea fans (and the majority of opposition) that without the foundations Ranieri had already laid at Chelsea, Jose might not have been regarded as quite so ‘special’ in the first place, and Mourinho’s bound to be feeling a little put out right now.

Looks like Serie A might provide some entertainment this season after all!