There were surreal scenes in the Chelsea press room on Thursday as a gatecrasher interrupted Antonio Conte’s usual media conference.
Conte was speaking to the press ahead of Chelsea’s FA Cup fifth round clash at home to Hull City on Friday night, though events soon took a strange turn.
An Italian ‘journalist’ approached the manager and appeared to be showing him a question on a tablet. Conte’s bemused face, however, suggested that something was clearly up and it was at this point that the intruder revealed a Manchester United jersey with ‘Antonio Conte 1’ printed on the back, apparently “signed and delivered as a gift from Jose Mourinho.”
Conte tried his best to ignore what was happening in front of him, while Chelsea’s head of communications Steve Atkins insisted that the man sit down as they had a tight schedule and other questions to get through before the end of the press conference.
Reports suggest that the man was quickly escorted from Chelsea’ s Cobham training ground once the cameras had stopped rolling.
Conte had been engaged in a public war of words with Man United boss (and Chelsea predecessor) Mourinho at the turn of the year, and while that has cooled for the time being, the rivalry is likely to be ramped up once again ahead of the meeting of the two teams later this month.
In terms of the football this weekend, Chelsea welcome Hull to Stamford Bridge on Friday night, looking to build momentum after Monday night’s morale-boosting 3-0 win at home to West Bromwich Albion.
In this week’s episode of the Mixer Irish football podcast, we preview the 2018 SSE Airtricity League season, hear from Ronan Finn, Liam Buckley, Shane Keegan and Ollie Horgan, and we also pay tribute to the great Liam Miller.