Conte tells Mourinho to 'think about his team' after crying comments
LONDON -- Antonio Conte hit back at Jose Mourinho for the first time after Chelsea's injury crisis worsened with fresh problems for David Luiz and Tiemoue Bakayoko in Wednesday's 3-3 draw with Roma in the Champions League.
Chelsea surrendered a two-goal lead to their Serie A opponents at Stamford Bridge after goals from Aleksandar Kolarov and Edin Dzeko cancelled out strikes from Luiz and Eden Hazard, and Dzeko then put Roma on the brink of a famous victory before Hazard's second spared the Premier League champions' blushes.
After the match Conte revealed that he substituted Luiz because of concerns about a calf injury, while Bakayoko also picked up a groin problem in the first half. Chelsea are already without N'Golo Kante and Victor Moses due to hamstring injuries, while Danny Drinkwater is still battling a lingering calf issue.
United also suffered an injury scare in their 1-0 win over Benfica as striker Marcus Rashford limped off with a knee injury, but Mourinho afterwards insisted: "I never speak about injuries. Other managers, they cry, they cry, they cry when a player is injured.
"If I wanted to moan I could cry like the others for five minutes; [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, [Marouane] Fellaini, [Paul] Pogba, [Marcos] Rojo..."
Responding to Mourinho's comments, Conte said: "Do you think it was for me? If he is speaking about me, I think he has to think about his team and start looking at himself, not others.
"I think that a lot of times Mourinho has to see what happens at Chelsea. A lot of times, also last season. [He has] to think about his team."
Conte has referenced Chelsea's "very difficult" injury situation many times in recent weeks, but he refused to use it as an excuse for failing to beat Roma.
"I like to be honest and, for sure, I didn't like the type of football that we played for a long part of the game," he added. "But it's right to take the responsibility for this because I tried, on the one hand, to protect my team and make us more solid, and to move Luiz into central midfield.
"But at the other end we lost totally our knowledge and style of football. I didn't like this. At the end I think the result was fair. In the first half, we were 2-0 up, but we weren't in control of the game. It's right to take the responsibility for this.
"But I repeat, sometimes, you have to find the right solution to try to protect your team. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad. but you know very well our situation [with injuries]. It was [fair] to draw because Roma deserved this result.
"I have to praise my players because they showed me big effort, big commitment tonight, otherwise we'd have lost the game."
Atletico Madrid's shock draw with 10-man Qarabag means Chelsea remain in control of Group C, but Conte warned his team will have to improve when they meet Roma again at Stadio Olympico at the end of October.
"We know Roma are a strong team, but we gave them too much tonight in terms of ball possession and much more," he continued. "Their performance was very strong, so credit them, but we must do better than this.
"I have to take responsibility for this. I will go home tonight unhappy. I know you can lose games, but you always have to try and perform and give everything if you don't get the result you want."
Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.