Sulky One v Rattled One

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It’s The Sulky One v The Rattled One. Jose Mourinho brings United to the Bridge this weekend in snappy, surly mood, a million miles from the chirpy Special One who did so well at Chelsea.
The Blues manager, on the other hand, has demons of his own.
Tony Conte should have shrugged and smiled when he learnt that Mourinho pre-match comments may have referred to him.
This is called gamesmanship, and Mourinho became the champion on Alex Ferguson’s retirement. Yet Conte has allowed himself to be needled.
Both Chelsea and United have maximum recovery time from their European Tuesday nighters against Roma and Benfica, although those results couldn’t have been more different.
The Blues didn’t merely underperform in their 3-0 defeat in the Italian capital, they capitulated.
Lacking energy and drive, they played the worst second half of the calendar year. United, on the other hand, won comfortably at home.
The teams clash at 4.30pm on Sunday, both knowing they must keep pace with league leaders Manchester City.
The Blues’ 1-0 win at Bournemouth last weekend was emphatic, yet oddly fragile. The goals are coming, but Chelsea still haven’t settled into a free-flowing, free-scoring rhythm.
The signs are good, but the injury list still means Conte is unable to select his perfect team.
Alvaro Morata isn’t back to full match fitness, and was subbed during the match on the south coast – a game in which mazy midfielder Eden Hazard once again showed his prowess. N’Golo Kante’s return can’t come soon enough.
All is not 100% in the Chelsea dressing room. Whatever gloss is put on things, there is something not right, with reports of players irked about heavy training routines when playing three times a week; a situation which didn’t arise last season.
If ever a solid performance was needed, it’s now.

Will the pensioners be singing on Sunday?